de Beuzeville, William

The de Beuzeville family was of Huguenot extraction who for many generations were engaged in the silk industry in France. As part of the Hugenot migration to England following a period of great anti-Protestant sentiment in France, the family inter married with the Byles family – who adopted Beuzeville as a middle name. In 1848 James Beuzeville (1809-1887) migrated to New South Wales and established the Eastwood Silk Institution at Eastwood House, Eastwood (now part of Ryde Hospital) [1]. The venture did not succeed financially, although the quality of the silk produced was considered highly. He accepted a position as writing master at The Kings School (1850-51) before becoming a District Registrar which also had a teaching position at Beauclere (1852-55) at Bathurst. James died at Enfield in 1887.

The grandson of James was Wilfred Alexander Watt de Beuzeville (‘Boozy’) (1884 – 1954) FNSWRS, FLS [1 who started life as a tin miner at Emmaville and was recruited into forestry by E H F Swain, then the District Forester at Narrabri but later Commissioner of Forests. Boozy joined the Forestry Department as a Temporary Forest Guard in 1912 in various north west towns prior to being transferred to Wyong in 1917 and then Tumut in 1920. He remained in Tumut until 1933 where he evaluated much of the land subsequently planted with pine. He discovered a Snow Gum that is named after him (Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp debeuzevillei). He then worked out of Kempsey, Wyong and Deniliquen before being appointed “Forest Ecologist” under Commissioner Swain. In this role he selected the site for Cumberland State Forest, West Pennant Hills, and oversaw much of its early development. He was also largely responsible for the opening up of the Bellangry-Mt Boss forests.

He wore a beard, when these were no longer fashionable, and it was said that you could follow his quite outstanding solo exploratory treks by the caches of empty whiskey bottles and sardine tins. During the 1930s he was undertaking a management plan investigation on Tamban State Forest near Eungai. Returning from a visit to Sydney, George Baur records, that he is sitting crumpled in the corner of the railway compartment, bearded, slightly grubby looking, silent, eyed rather suspiciously by his fellow passengers. Then, as the train approaches his camp site, he suddenly jumps up, opens the window, grabs a hessian bag with his belongings, and throws it out of the train, before crumpling back into his corner. Fellow passengers rapidly vacate the compartment for safer parts of the train.

As his children grew up, he and his wife in about 1929, purchased land in Beecroft from his friend (and distant relative) Cyril Byles in Welham Street. Boozy and his wife had two children: Wilfred and Babette (who married David Byles). The son, Wilfred, was an electrical engineer who returned to live in the family home at 27 Welham Street following the death of his parents.

Boozy described several new species of trees including Eucalyptus badjensis and Longetia (now Austrobuxus) swainii. He wrote The Climatological Basis of Forestry and a book on Australian trees for planting. He was a fellow of both the Royal and Linnean Societies of New South Wales.

 [1]        A significant part of this article is based upon information supplied by George Norton Baur a fellow forester who also lived nearby in Mary Street.

[2]        G N Baur, Silvicultural Jottings No 11 (September 1984) and No 12 (November 1984) of the NSW Forestry Commission.