Last Sunday we walked over to the very beautiful paddock know as the Lower Wilderness. We went to check on a water trough that had recently been overflowing. My brother had adjusted the float while we were away. It was fine.
Afterwards, we climbed our neighbour’s hill, looking at all the old trees. At the top I turned and looked back at our paddock. On the opposite hill, I saw this; a truly magnificent Aboriginal scarred tree.
It is a huge White Box. It is a strong and healthy tree, with widely spreading branches, indicating it grew without competition from other trees. A ‘specimen’ tree within the park-like Country, created by Aboriginal fire stick farming, that was noted over and over in documents written by the first white people in the Upper Hunter (and everywhere else). It is the biggest and oldest tree on the hill. There are some fallen limbs, but it is an awesome ancient living thing.
The scar is very large. It was made when an Aboriginal person cut out a large section of bark with a stone axe. It is also very old. You can tell this by the huge and deep vertical rolls of bark that have overgrown the scar on both sides. This takes time; a lot of time.
My husband is 187cm tall. Standing, looking into the scar, his height gives some idea of the size of the tree and of the scar.
The scar will remain, but if the tree keeps living and growing, one day it may be completely covered over by overgrown bark. The two sides will join and the scar will be hidden. A thin faint line, and these bulbous bark formations thickening the trunk, will still tell the story to those who know what to look for. You can see it happening at the top of the scar, the thin line clearly visible in the already healed-over bark.
But, for now, in this lifetime, I can put my hand deep inside the tree and touch its heartwood.
The view from in front of the tree; Gundy Mountain in the middle distance, Mount Woolooma in the far distance.