Dave is probably the ranger FOGGS has had most contact with over the years. Starting on 4th January 1982 with the Forest Commission as a technical assistant with the School of Forestry and Land Management in Creswick, Dave did four and a half years before being seconded to the Alpine Planning Team to work on the proposed Alpine National Park. In 1988 Dave transferred to Mt Buffalo working as a technical assistant (a.k.a. Ranger) focused on campgrounds and patrols including cross country ski patrols. In 1989 Dave got offered the job as the Dunkeld Ranger in the Grampians. ‘Unfortunately’ the job offer was just too late into Winter and the removalist truck couldn’t get into Mt Buffalo because of the snow so he was ‘forced’ to do another snow season on ski patrol. Dave then got offered the Walking Track Ranger position based in Halls Gap and has worked in the Grampians from late 1989 until February 2019.
It is quite hard to conceive what the Parks Victoria Grampians Team will look like now that Dave is retiring after almost thirty years. Thirty years of working to protect the park, thirty years of learning its treasures, especially its plants, thirty years of sharing that knowledge.
Though never actually officially our “contact ranger”, Dave has been one of the rangers FOGGs have seen the most. Working bees at the Red Gum Walk, examining sallow wattle near Beehive Falls back in the 2000’s are just two of our activities where he features in our photos.
Is his nickname still “Horrible”? Apparently he once reprimanded a tourist, I think with a dog, and she complained about “that horrible ranger”. Whereupon his mates called him “Horrible Handscombe” for quite a few years. Within FOGGs he was for a while called “Ranger Dave’ because we at that stage had so many members called Dave that I remember adapting the Dr Seuss poem for our newsletter:
Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons and she named them all Dave?
Well, she did. And that wasn’t a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants one and calls out, ‘Yoo-Hoo!
Come into the house, Dave!’ she doesn’t get one.
All twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!
This makes things quite difficult at the McCaves’
As you can imagine, with so many Daves.