Grid Reference -34.140631, 116.062099 (GDA)
Department DEC
Work Centre ?
District Manjimup
Grading ?
Elevation (ASL) 310m
Height Tree tower: 28m
Timber tower: 35m
Construction Original: Tree
Current: Timber
Cabin size Tree tower: 1.8m x 1.2m
Timber tower: ?
Public access to site ?
In use since Tree tower: 1936/37 - 1961/62
Timber tower: 1962/63 -
Photo, taken in 1999-2000 during a holiday, was supplied by Shannon and Joey Hodgson from the USA. They have been interested in Lookouts for many years and are just on the tail end of their 12th season (Oct. 2008) as fire lookouts in Oregon, USA. Shannon and Joey are also members of the FFLA.

Alco was the first Lookout tree to be constructed in the Karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) Country. In the 1936-37 summer, a Marri (Corymbia calophylla) tree was pegged some six miles west of Alco Siding on a moderate high ironstone ridge. The view exceeded all expectations, a crow's nest was built in the limbs and the following year a 6ft (1.8m) by 4ft (1.2m) cabin was constructed, with floor level some 85ft (25.9m) above ground. This served for some 26 years before it was replaced by a 110ft (33.5m) tower, and it was from this "Älco Tree" that the sample was sent to Head Office, showing the Karri peg in perfect condition, after 26 years in an exposed position. About the same time a small crow's nest was built in a Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) tree just south of Kirup headquaters. Observations from the established "Alco Tree", together with many observations taken by Jack Watson from trees climbed to various heights an many hill tops, enabled the selection of many other look-out sites. In the high forest south of the Blackwood river, constructed towers to give clear vision over canopy from 150'to 190' (45.7m to 57.9m) high, would have been very costly, but a series of tree lookouts were established at very low cost.
The above information was found in Forest Notes Vol 5 Number 1 (Jume 1967) on page 19 and it was written by D.W.R. Stewart a Senior Divisional Forest Officer.

In his book 'Lookouts of the Karri Country', Dave Evans writes: "The Forests Department employee who pegged the Alco tree, and who with Assistant Forester Jack Watson, built the crow's nest in the canopy was George Reynolds. In the following two decades George went on to participate in the pegging and construction of a number of tree lookouts in the region and became the acknowledged specialist in his field. He was a skilled axeman and posessed an iron nerve which, together with his irrepressible sense of humour, fitted him well for the hazerdous taks of pegging, branch trimming and cabin building which lookout tree construction entailed."

The original costing for the replacement tower was approximately £900 (Sep 1961)

In his book 'Lookouts of the Karri Country', Dave Evans writes: The Forest Department had received special funding to provide work for unemployed coal miners. It was proposed the a tower to be erected at Alco could be prefabricated at Collie. The divided nature of this operation and the additional cost through the need for travelling and other circumstances caused some disquit to the Depatrtment's Head Office administration. However, on 8 November 1962, DFO Beggs was able to inform the Conservator that the total cost of the erecting Alco tower amounted to £2,528 a modest increase in the expected amount given the cicumstances.

Please click on thumbnails for enlargements

Rare photo of the tree, taken from a publication
by Roger Underwood in Forest Focus No. 23 1983
and used with permission
supplied by DEC
Screenshot of old map supplied
by MLC in late 2019
supplier unknown

Alco in June 2020. 1st photo taken & supplied by Jack Bradshaw
2nd & 3rd photos are the original photo, zoomed in by us.

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