Our benefactor, Bjarne Dahl developed a true affinity with the Australian bush and, in particular, a love of the Silvertop Ash, or Eucalyptus sieberi. So much so that he bequeathed all of his property to the Forests Commission of Victoria, now the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to be established as a Trust focused on eucalypts.
Bjarne Dahl died in 1993 and his estate has been professionally managed and grown by Perpetual Trustees, as directed in his Will.
The establishment of the Trust was complex and Bjarne Dahl’s 1993 bequest was formally established as the Bjarne K Dahl Trust through an Order of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2007, creating an independent Trust, separate to the Department of Sustainability and Environment.
The Board of Managing Trustees was appointed in 2009 and the Trust commenced operations in 2010.
His Excellency Professor David de Kretser, A.C., Governor of Victoria and Mrs. Jan de Kretser kindly hosted the launch of the Bjarne K Dahl Trust at Government House on Monday 16 August 2010. It was a delight for the Board of Managing Trustees and the other guests to attend Government House, and the welcoming speech was most engaging and set the tone for the evening. 150 invited guests, including associates of Bjarne Dahl’s from the Victorian Forest Commission to representatives of the Philanthropic, Norwegian, Conservation, Botany, Forestry, Indigenous and Academic communities celebrated the launch.
Keynote speeches were given by Professor Pauline Ladiges AO FAA, Head School of Botany at the University of Melbourne and world expert on eucalypt taxonomy (Prof. Ladiges has since retired and is now an Associate Research Fellow and a Trustee of the Bjarne K Dahl Trust) and Mr Trevor Gallagher, Aboriginal Programs Officer, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Other members of the official party included Ms. Alison Teese, Chair Bjarne K Dahl Trust; Mr. Joe Helper MP, Minister for Agriculture; Mr. Tomm Paulsen, Honorary Consul-General of Norway and Mrs. Hailan Paulsen; and Professor Stephen Hopper, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom.
There could not have been a better start to the Trust’s operations: the Launch both honoured the significant bequest made by Bjarne Dahl to the people of Australia and informed the community about how the Trust will function, introduced our website and more strongly focused on the important links eucalypts have to so many aspects of life in Australia.