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Biographical entry Cunningham, T. Murray

Mathinna, Tasmania, Australia


T. M. Cunningham made important contributions to forestry on which the silvicultural methods that are in use today for wet sclerophyll forests have been based. His work in Victoria, and that of several other people, showed that ash species (Eucalyptus regnans) will not regenerate adequately unless a heavy cut is made, the under-storey largely removed and an effective seed bed prepared.


Murray Cunningham was born in the small town of Mathinna in north east Tasmania and joined the Tasmanian Forestry Commission in 1949 after graduating in forestry. In 1955 Cunningham was awarded a PhD fellowship from Australian Paper Manufacturers to study at the University of Melbourne using sites in Victorian wet eucalypt forests. Cunningham's PhD studies greatly advanced the understanding of the silviculture and management of E. regnans forests. He focussed on factors controlling seedling regeneration, including seed development, seedfall and the fate of dispersed seed, seed germination and seed survival, and seedbed preparation. Cunningham's findings, combined with those of Max Gilbert, laid the basis for developing the operational techniques for harvesting and regeneration of wet eucalypt forests. Cunningham became a Commissioner at the Tasmanian Forestry Commission until his retirement in the mid 1980s. In 1985 he received the NW Jolly Medal for his promotion of a balanced forest management ethic, which included the recognition of non-wood values.


Education - PhD, University of Melbourne, School of Forestry
Award - NW Jolly Medal, Institute of Foresters Australia

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Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Cunningham, T.M., The natural regeneration of Eucalyptus regnans. Bulletin No. 1. (School of Forestry, University of Melbourne, 1960). Details

Journal Articles

  • Cunningham, T.M., 'Seed production and seed fall of Eucalyptus regnans (F. Muell).', Australian Forestry, 21 (1957), 30-39. Details
  • Cunningham, T.M., 'Seed and seedling survival of Eucalyptus regnans and the natural regeneration of second-growth stands.', Appita, 13 (1960), 124-131. Details
  • Cunningham, T.M. and Cremer, K.W., 'Control of the understorey in wet eucalypt forests.', Australian Forestry, 29 (1965), 4-14. Details
  • Gilbert, J.M. and Cunningham, T.M., 'Regeneration of harvested forests.', Appita, 26 (1972), 43-45. Details


See also

Roseanne Walker, John Hickey