History soil conservation service

The history of the Soil Conservation Service

We have a proud history of building and rehabilitating Australian environments since 1938, and are committed to connecting with local communities, contractors, suppliers and advice.

Our 80-year history has cemented our reputation as NSW’s most trusted provider of specialist services in environmental consulting, conservation earthworks, program management and project delivery.

Our people deliver natural resource projects across NSW that provide long-term, triple-bottom line results.

These projects range from conservation earthworks to large-scale contaminated sites, derelict mines, river restoration, coastal rehabilitation and emergency response work.

For more information please contact your local Soil Conservation Service office, or email scs.enquiries@scs.nsw.gov.au.

A snapshot of soil conservation

As you can see, soil conservation has a long history in Australia. We have also published other historic films on our YouTube channel.

For other historical material, you can also check out:


Our timeline

1938 – The Bill was presented with amendments and passed on 6 October and came into force as the Soil Conservation Act on 28 October 1938. A very early piece of environmental legislation.

Sam Clayton was appointed Director of the Soil Conservation Service, a small unit within the Department of Mines and Forests.

1940 – Sam Clayton obtained part of the Cowra Experiment Farm from Department of Agriculture which became the Cowra Research Station for SCS.

1944 – SCS became part of the new Department of Conservation along with the Forestry Commission, and Water Conservation & Irrigation Commission

1947 – Earthmoving plant hire service commenced.

1976 – SCS was fully recognised by the Government when the Commissioner was recognised as a Permanent Head in terms of the Public Service Act 1902.

1990 – Business Operations group formed as a commercial activity in the SCS, consisting of the earthmoving plant hire service, consultancy and fleet activities.

1991 – SCS incorporated with Lands into Department of Conservation and Land Management (CaLM) with significant downsize (13% of staff) in combined agency. The Business Operations group continued as an outer budget sector unit in CaLM.

1993 – CaLM was internally divided into four divisions one of which was named the Soil Conservation Service under the Ministry of George Souris. Business Operations continued as a separate unit in CaLM.

1997 – Business Operations renamed Soil Services and established as one of three business units within DLWC.

2003 – On 30 January Soil Services in DLWC was renamed the Soil Conservation Service.

2003 – April, Soil Conservation Service incorporated into the new Department of Lands.

2009 – Department of Lands was abolished and SCS became a division within Land and Property Management Authority (LPMA).

2011 – LPMA was abolished after a government restructure and SCS became a division of Department of Primary Industries within the Department of Trade & Investment, Regional Infrastructure & Services.

2017 - Soil Conservation Service was aligned with Local Land Services under the then NSW Department of Industry. Local Land Services is a regionally based NSW Government agency that works with farmers, landholders and the community on natural resource management, agricultural productivity and pest management.

2018 - The Soil Conservation Service marks its 80th anniversary. Since the 2000s we have transitioned into a fully commercial business.