Don’t Put Rob de Fégely ‘Out to Pasture’ Just Yet!

His first love forestry is still priority

Mon 01 Jul 24


“Don’t put me out to pasture just yet laughed respected forester and beef cattle hobbyist Rob de Fégely.

Co-founder and director of Margules Groome, Mr de Fégely, 67, last week retired from this Melbourne-based industry consultancy, a unique combination of management skills in the forestry, wood products, bio solutions, pulp and paper and agricultural tree crop sectors.

But leaving active duty in the firm doesn’t mean he will rusticate among his Hereford and Angus cross cattle on the family’s 120-ha farm near Eden on the NSW south coast.

Far from it. Although raised among a family of farmers, Rob remains in the forest industry he loves to continue such diverse roles (and battles) as chair of Sustainable Timber Tasmania, board member of Forestry Corporation NSW, manager of the South-East Forestry Hub and a director of Alberta Investment Management Corporation in Canada.

Rob’s career in consulting began in the 1980s when he joined pioneer forestry consultancy Ray Margules Over the past four decades, he has undertaken countless number of assignments for both the private sector in Australia and government with a keen interest in strategy and policy.

Rob has held several notable positions, including chair of the Commonwealth Government’s Forest Industry Advisory Council (FIAC) from 2015 to 2023, national president of Forestry Australia (formerly the Institute of Foresters of Australia) from 2012 to 2017, and non-executive director of VicForests from 2012 to 2015.

Rob was founding chair of Cape York Timber, an indigenous-based sawmilling enterprise in far north Queensland. Furthermore, he has advised Greening Australia, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Natural Resources Commission. For more than 40 years, Rob has also worked on projects across Australia and throughout most of the Asia-Pacific region.

Throughout his career, he has been passionate about promoting sustainable forestry practices and advocating for the forestry profession. He has also contributed to the education and training of future forestry professionals and capacity building within the sector.

The cherry on the pie in Rob’s career came during the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Forestry conference in Christchurch, NZ, in 2019 when he was awarded the William Jolly Medal, the most highly valued award given for outstanding service to forestry.

But like a tick sucking on the rump of a heifer, Rob’s continued disappointment is the lack of awareness of the values and virtues of the forest industry.

“Most people seem to know what is going on when in fact they don’t know what is going on!”

An avid supporter of Wood Central, Rob praised the industry platform’s success in communicating the correct messages on trees, wood and fibre – worldwide.


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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