In the early 1970s, mission brown and yellow were the colours chosen for signs and other labelling by the National Parks Service in Victoria. This revealed some USA influence. A decision was taken in the early 1970s to shift to olive green and cream. Notes of a Rangers’ Training Course held at Kiata in the Little Desert in 1973 indicate that a green uniform was modelled.
Uniform emblems from Victoria 1961-75 and Queensland 1978.
Ron Turner, Ranger in both Victoria and from 1978 Queensland (see his memoir First Ranger in the Document Library), writing for PaRC in 2023, has supplied the following recollection:
“When I joined the National Parks Authority in 1961 rangers were issued with clothing made by the Cushen Clothing Company of Melbourne. Shirts and a dress jacket carried a shoulder patch on each side. The jacket was never popular with rangers who often commented on its inadequacy. Issued clothing included both dress and working shirts with a brown tie, and both long trousers and shorts. Wet weather clothing, and a rubber-soled golf shoe and/or riding boot were supplied on an annual request basis. Complementing the uniform was a scout commissioner’s type of hat. The only good thing about this hat was the shade afforded but it was so stiff it could only be worn quite flat. There was no tilting it or pulling it down to reflect personality; it was an awful thing to wear. To make the point at one stage one of the country rangers pulled it down onto the Director’s head!
“Having been superseded more than 40 years ago, these uniforms would now be collectors’ items.
“The Victorian rangers had formed a Victorian National Parks Rangers’ Association of which I was the Secretary. The issue of a better uniform was often to the forefront of our discussions and we were modestly active in evaluating styles of clothing and colours, even viewing uniforms as made by various manufacturers. We had also opted to have the Wedge-tailed Eagle as an emblem for shoulder patches, etc.
“I had been to the first ever NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service conference held at Royal National Park, Sydney, in 1967, and been very impressed with the style and colour of their brand new uniform with its lyrebird insignia.
“Dr. L.H.Smith, the then Director of the renamed National Parks Service diplomatically led with his concept of having the kangaroo as the official emblem. The rangers, as a group, felt the kangaroo was already vastly ‘overdone’ on commercial logos and ‘Skippy the Bush Kangaroo’ had not long been released on television. Our efforts were not entirely in vain for I was asked if I would ‘model’ a uniform as proposed by the National Parks Service at our forthcoming annual training course. In due course my measurements were taken at the Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory. In 1973 the training course was held in the controversial Little Desert National Park area and I fronted the conference in this new uniform, complete with a softer, more appropriate hat.
“As far as I was aware the above uniform was the only one of its kind ever made and those six metal buttons must now be ‘scarcer than hen’s teeth’!”
A 1996 sign manual for Queensland‘s Department of Natural Resources (forestry and forests recreation) will be made available in PaRC as soon as scanning is complete.