Grid Reference -33.838850, 115.909660
Department DEC
Work Centre ?
District Blackwood
Grading ?
Elevation (ASL) 245m
Height 5m
Construction Timber
Cabin size 3m x 3m
Public access to site ?
In use since 1964 - 197?
Main photo was taken in 1965-66 and supplied by Des Garvin, see story below. The framework of the original post-and-brush structure (see B/W photo below) is still visible.

This tower was abandoned in 1975

Screenshot of old map supplied by MLC in late 2019. MLC also reported:
Erected overlooking the Lewana Plantation, which is near the Balingup - Nannup Road. First record of use 1964-65.

In a Departmental paper dated 16th April 1971 it states: At present, Garvin tower which is located in Reference square FZ.56 is entirely relied upon for the detection and reporting of smokes in and adjacent to the Lewana plantation area. This tower which is some 15 feet in height was built as a temporary measure, primarily to ensure protection of the initial planting along the Blackwood Valley. Recent extensions to the planted area now place the major portion of the plantation FAA beyond the direct viewing area of this tower, and thus the effectiveness of this tower is reduced to a point where i consider it as grossly inadequate for such a high value area. The need for a much improved detection system is further highlighted after considering recent land purchases which indicate further plantation development along the Blackwood Valley and Balingup Brook.

1st photo was supplied by Yvonne Johnson (nee Garvin)
2nd photo is the main photo cropped and zoomed-in by us.
We were contacted by John Bylund in August 2021 in relation to the removal, restoration and re-erection of the Munro fire tower to a museum in Collie. In discussions, John mentioned casually that his wife’s grandmother and uncle (Des) were the first tower operators on the Garvin tower that was named after their family. Here follow some recollections from Des Garvin:
Garvin tower was started in December 1964 which was the year that I finished high school and I was the first person to man the set up. It started as a post and brush covering (see 1st photo above). The bush cover was erected in 1 day by the crew from the Kirup depot, cut from the property belonging to S.A. & E.R. Garvin at the time. That construction was the temporary set-up till the proper tower was erected in about February 1965. The tower building was built by Terry Lang in the Grimwade workshop. It was a Jarrah frame with tongue grooved Pinus pinaster boards which I had to paint with linseed oil before winter. The dimensions were 10ft by 10ft by 8ft with a sloping roof with the high side to the west. It was erected with the walls north, east, west & south facing set on the compass. The chart table was 5ft square set in the middle with the sighter in the centre with a protractor in degrees on the chart. From memory the floor was only 10ft from the ground and entry was through a trap door in the floor. The windows were louvers of glass so you could get the cool breezes when they blew on the hot days. The only equipment was a crank phone connected to a single wire earth return system and a wind speed meter with thermometer attached. There was no two way radio while I worked on the tower. I manned it for half the next season when mum took it over till we left the area in 1969 I am not sure who manned it after.
The hours of manning were from 8:00am till 6:00pm every day with a single wire telephone system with earth as the second conductor. With the day's action, we always got to the tower 15 minutes before 8:00am to get organised ready for the 8:00am forecast and weather readings of wind direction, speed and temperature and sight distance available. Cloud cover was also noted. Each hour those things were recorded in the log book. On days of severe fire danger the towers would be manned from 7:00am to 7:00pm. When I started the pay rate was 27 pounds a week and the season ran from 1st of November to Anzac Day as usually by then the season had broken. Occasionally, if it rained more than 50 points or 13 mm, you were sent home unless there was lightening, then 19 mm had to fall. When smoke was detected with a sighting device, the bearings were logged in the record book and that was relayed to the office in Nannup and Kirup. Often watched things with the 7x50 binoculars that were part of the equipment. Many books were read and other tasks were done.

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