There was an interesting short piece in ‘Environment Connect Winter 2021’, the East Gippsland Shire Council’s environment newsletter entitled “How old is that redgum?” The trees referred to are on the Tulaba Track in Eastwood, a suburb of Bairnsdale – a pleasant Sunday stroll that I have done many times and asked the same question. Following a limb falling from one of these trees the Shire “had an arborist complete an inspection of the tree after the limb fall, which indicated this tree is approximately 450 years old and in sound condition!”
The article further noted that this “magnificent old tree will have an exclusion zone now placed around it with mulch, planting, barriers and signage to highlight what an asset this tree is to our shire. It will be the start of an ongoing project to complete the same treatment around another seven trees in the park that are [of] a similar age. The addition of exclusion zones will increase the health of the trees and prolong their lifespan…” and we “are very fortunate to have many of these trees (Howitt Park is another location where similar treatment has occurred) and have many trees registered through the National Trust. Some of these trees include the Buchan Blue Wattle in Lake Tyers, Mallacoota Gums around Mallacoota (including in the caravan park) and an Indian Bean Tree outside our offices in Orbost.”
A check with the map of the National Trust tree register gave only three trees for the Bairnsdale area and a couple more for the rest of East Gippsland. I’m assured by the Shire Sustainability Officer Rebecca Lamble that these other trees mentioned in their newsletter are registered and I am grateful for the work the Shire is doing. In replying to Rebecca, I mentioned a large Redwood I had found in the bush many years ago in the old gold mining town of Stirling on the Haunted Stream, but lamented that because there had been three severe bushfires through the location this century it was almost certainly gone.
Against these Shire efforts, we have the ravages of Vic Roads and Vic Forests. I have written previously on the destruction of a mighty Yellow Box on the Great Alpine Road and the wholesale destruction by the tree vandals at Cape Conran to which we can add the continuing scorched earth policy of the loggers in the bush. As well, there are rumours of further planned large-scale tree removal by VicRoads in the Gelantipy-McKillops Bridge area.
At this late stage in the climate emergency (which our governments have known about for thirty years) urgent action is required. All trees are significant, all trees are precious, and all trees are carbon stores. Like the Tulaba Track redgums they should be protected and never removed, except in extreme circumstances.