Monday, November 17, 2003


sticking to the path in a dry foothills forest with blackened gums from recent deliberately lit fires, you could almost miss the rare things that endure almost miraculously as the new suburbia settles.

A recent Age article about a man who has spent the past three decades single-handedly creating his own forest on what was once a dairy farm in East Gippsland’s Strzelecki Ranges.

Googling for the link also led to this earlier article about the Ada tree in Gippsland
This is a story of two trees in Gippsland. One, in a paddock near Thorpdale in the Strzelecki Ranges, became a very long log. The other, still standing in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, may be the most massive living thing in Australia...
"When some visitors come into this forest they burst into tears when they see the massive, rotting logs."

The Strzelecki State Forest - History repeats itself

Comments: forests

Thanks. That's great. There is a story that when Count Strezlecki first set out from Melbourne with his wagons and horses, his party made it as far as the Kooweerup Swamp (now a paradise for the asparagus gutser..). They became irretrievably trapped for weeks, until they ran out of food. It rained so hard they couldn't even light a fire. They survived on raw koala bears.

Dr Tom Griffith's recent book "Forests Of Ash: An Environmental History" is exquisite. It made me cry.
Posted by David at November 17, 2003 05:41 PM

that's a great story - especially given the swamp's relative close proximity to 'the settlement' of melb. Raw koalas - not even rare. Were they called 'monkey bears'?
I read Tom Griffiths' earlier "Secrets of the Forest..." I remember being really moved by it -
a wonderful book.
Ashamed to say that I haven't yet read 'Forests of Ash'. I imagine it would be very heavy-going and heart-rending but well worth it for the beauty, passion, scholarship, stories.
Definitely another book on the list to read.
Posted by boynton at November 17, 2003 06:08 PM

goody - I didn't there was an earlier one. Then again, this room is strewn with stuff to read, and I just keep roaming the internet, fascinated by interplay.

I am quoting this from memory, but there's a book called "the Book of the Bush" by George Dunderdale, published in 1898, which had the above story. And has this one too:

The original White inhabitants of Port Albert, down by the Prom, lived a hand-to-mouth existence on seals and potatoes, with no contact with Melbourne. One day a surveyor called Tyers (yes, the Lake Tyers one) came into town on a horse with a troop of soldiers, having marched all the way from the city. He lined up all the residents and told them that they were squatting on crown land. They needed to pay a license fee or he would burn their huts down. Some of them managed to scrape together the requisite twenty shillings in bits and pieces, and others said no. So he burnt their huts. The best ones, though, were the people who found bits of paper and carefully wrote cheques drawable at non-existent banks in Sydney. Tyers went solemnly off and didn't discover his mistake until he gave them to the State Treasury officials in Spring Street. The town apparently picked itself up and moved to a corner of privately owned land down the road, where they were safe. Tee hee.
Posted by David at November 18, 2003 12:17 AM

Yes - there's something about Gipppsland...
I once studied the history of Port Albert but never encountered this book or this writer or this story! I do know that those non-existant banks did a fair trade in the colonies.
btw The Port Albert Historical and Maritime Museum is another great musuem.

Another great story, which has led me on a trail from Dunderdale to some great finds, David.
Posted by boynton at November 18, 2003 09:15 AM

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