The National Trust of Australia wants your help to document significant trees on private and public land throughout the country.

Story By Ken Eastwood

Like seeds growing into a forest, there is rising interest in significant trees. In July this year, for the first time, the National Trust of Australia put its database of 25,000 significant trees onto a website, Previously kept in dusty paper collections, the records have been collated since the early 1980s.
There are 21 reasons a tree can be listed, including historic, social, aesthetic and social classifications, and they don’t have to be a native species. The register includes such classics as the Prison Tree, a large hollow boab tree in the Kimberley, WA; explorer Robert O’Hara Burke’s memorial coolibah near Innamincka, SA; and a giant river red gum at Springton, SA, that was home to German settler Friedrich Herbig and his family in the 1850s. But the list also includes many trees of more local or regional significance, and is completely dependent on who has been submitting nominations. For example, there are 38 listings in Toowoomba – more than any other Queensland town – mainly because an enthusiastic person nominated a lot of their local trees.
“There’s a real emotive attachment to trees for many people,” says Dr Greg Moore, chair of the Significant Trees Committee in Victoria. “It’s amazing how many trees have a place in a family’s heart … It might be the tree that although grandad died 20 years ago, every time you drive past it you remember him.”

This Story is from Issue #97

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2014