Inspired by his Queensland brigalow cattle property, wood-turner Robert Peart wrings sculptural forms from the remains of native trees.

Story & photos by Kerry Wehlburg

Mention ‘ooline’ to most people and they will give you a quizzical look. To others it is a large, attractive tree, stands of which can be seen from northern New South Wales through to central Queensland – a remnant of a rainforest dating back to Gondwana. To Robert Peart, the ooline tree provides the material for striking wood-turned sculptures.
Robert is one of the original 1963 settlers of central Queensland’s Arcadia Valley (see Issue 41). Like the other pioneers, he and his wife Nytha started out in a caravan on their property “Bundaleer”. Here, between the imposing sandstone cliffs of the Carnarvon and Expedition mountain ranges, they built their lives, raised a family and developed a successful grass-fed beef enterprise. Bundaleer is also host to some fine specimens of ooline, and Robert’s beautifully crafted pieces serve as a link between the artist and his environment. “I get all my ooline off my own property,” he says. “I only collect dead material. The timber suitable for use has to have been dead for about 15 years.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #50

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2007