15 Trees: Exhibition Launch
Colleen Filippa is a founding member of 15 trees, a small organisation that is dedicated to planting trees purchased by the community. Read all about it here www.15trees.com.au
Together we launched an art exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat's Backspace on Saturday 1th 16th July 2016. For my contribution I came up with 15 different tree stories. Scroll down the page to read all about them
Fifteen trees is the number of trees they need to plant on your behalf to reduce the carbon emissions of your vehicle for one year.
6.Lost Children Tree
7.Monkey Puzzle Tree
9.Nandi Flame Tree
1. Ash Tree
In Celtic mythology trees play an important role in many stories, here is an excerpt from the story of Lutey and the Mermaid that features the magic power of the tide and an Ash tree, " It was a child that Lutey saved next. A man came asking for him late one night and, with lantern in hand, led him to a poor, cramped cottage by the bay. The mother looked up from the pallet where her youngest lay racked with fever.
"The tide's turning is close at hand," she said anxiously. The belief was strong that death came only on the ebbing tide. If the ailing one could be held fast through the turning until the flood tide set in, then there would be another six hours of grace.
Lutey carried the child outside, down a rocky path to a grove where a sapling stood in the shadow of its great parent tree. It was an ash...a tree that Englishmen held sacred for reasons long forgotten in the mists of time. Into its branches, Lutey gently thrust the child and, at the moment which marked the slack between the ebb and flood of the sea, the magic of the ages touched the sapling. The child's fever broke. .
Read he full story below
Records dating back to the goldrush days show that the colonial sport of cricket was played intermittently on Tinetti's hill. The cricketing connection was firmly entrenched by the Crockett family just after the turn of the century. It began with the 1902 MCG Test Match between Australia and England. Test umpire Robert Crockett and English captain Archie MacLaren were casually chatting during a break in play. MacLaren was surprised that Australia did not cultivate its own bat willow and Crockett idly suggested that MacLaren should send some cuttings to Australia upon his return to the mother country.
Six months later the cuttings arrived sealed in a steel tube, but only one survived the heat of the equator. Crockett rushed this precious cutting to Shepherds Flat where it was nurtured by his younger brother James. From this single cutting grew thousands of willow trees at Shepherds Flat and the Crockett brand of bats became a household name amongst cricketers.
Arthur was riding mournfully through a lonely forest when he heard a woman's voice address him: "God save you, King Arthur! God save and keep you!" and he turned at once to see the person who had spoken.
He looked ahead and saw a woman's form clothed in brilliant scarlet; the figure was seated between a holly-tree and an oak, and the berries of the former were not more vivid than her dress, and the brown leaves of the latter not more brown and wrinkled than her cheeks.
Lost Children's Tree
An Excerpt of my telling of the Lost Children of Daylesford Story,
" They heard the long stuttered, creaky growl of a lone Black Cocatoo as he flew home to rest ."Burrun Lar, Burrun Lar, he screeched,
" It’s dark, go home to nest.' Waa the crow did his best to warn them, Bunjil the eagle circled on high, Ngana Nganaitj, the bat called them on, 'a little further'
To a hut that was warm, safe and dry.
The boy's teeth were chattering, hypothermia had set in. And when they came to a fence in the bushland they had no energy to climb over it. So they clung to it like a lifeline at sea and followed until they came to a hollow tree.
.Will rest here for the night' Said the eldest, William,
'It's safe like a room and they'll find us
'In you go Alfred, Tom your next.'
Month after month went by but the families still had no answer until that fateful morning on Friday the 13th of September.
The crows screeched louder than ever, Waa, Waa, Waa, so many crows seemed an ominous sign that it attracted the attention of Michael McKay as he wandered out of his hut on the edge of the Wombat Forest.
Around midday his dog bounded up, he had something in his mouth.
‘Drop Boy,’ he commanded
It was a small boot, he gasped ‘The Lost Children the dog mighta found ‘em.
Next day McKay and his friends found the lost children’s tree, the final act, a tragic end. When William, Alfred and Thomas crouched in that wooden den months ago, it was to be their last earthly sleep. They were only a stone's throw from McKay's hut so near and yet so far.
I always seek out Monkey Puzzle trees because of this movie
The classic 1947 Academy-Award nominee The Ghost and Mrs. Muir featured an unforgettably romantic seaside house in the (fictitious) English village of Whitecliff-by-the-Sea. Gene Tierney starred as Lucy Muir, a young widow who rents Gull Cottage, only to discover that the handsome sea captain who died there is still haunting it.
The famous Monkey Puzzle tree in the front yard–which Rex Harrison’s Captain Daniel Gregg planted himself and is unhappy to see taken down–was real. It was found on the back lot of Fox studios and transplanted for the shoot. You can read more about Monkey Puzzle trees here.
Moonah trees- Churchill Island
Some years back I was invited down to Phillip Island to do a night time Ghost tour, this is where I first heard about the Moonah trees and the legend that the Bunerong people tell about them.
Legend has it that among the Bunurong people lived a boy and a girl who had fallen in love. They spent every minute tightly embraced in each others arms. They were so in love that they neglected their daily duties. The Bunurong elders told the boy and the girl that they must not forget their places amongst the people and must help with the work. This warning could not break the lovers bond. Eventually the Bunurong were so tired of the Boy and the Girl disappearing to be alone that they were banished from their people. The lovers left together to where they could be alone in their tight embrace where they froze in place leaving the twist of their entwined bodies to became the wrapping trunk and branches of the Moonah tree. Eventually their love had spread across the island and covered it with their children who still grow there today.
The regions indigenous history is tied to the Bunurong people of neighbouring Churchill Island who call this land “Moonahmia” after the special trees that grow here.
Thanks to http://www.southsidetravel.com/blog-articles/forbidden-love.aspx
Nandi Flame Tree
Wangari Maathai has always had an affinity for trees. As a child, she learned from her grandmother that a large fig tree near her family home in central Kenya was sacred and not to be disturbed. She gathered water for her mother at springs protected by the roots of trees. In the mid-1970s, Maathai, in an effort to meet the basic needs of rural women, began to plant trees with them. Her non-governmental Green Belt Movement has planted 30 million trees across Kenya, many of which still stand. In 2004 her work was internationally recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize.
“As trees grow, they give you hope and self-confidence,” Maathai said recently. “You feel good, like you have transformed the landscape.” So it should come as no surprise that within an hour of learning she had won the peace prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace, Maathai planted a tree. It was a nandi flame tree native to her home region of Nyeri, Kenya, where Maathai was when she heard the news. Never one to stand on ceremony, she knelt on the earth and dug her hands into the red soil, warm from the sun, and settled the tree into the ground. It was, she told the journalists and onlookers gathered, “the best way to celebrate.”
I was with Maathai that day. Rubbing the dirt from her hands, she took the occasion to turn her message to the world: “Honor this moment by planting trees,” she said as the media jammed her cell phone. “I'm sure millions of trees would be planted if every friend of the environment, and especially of me, did.
Putting the pieces together
It was in the mid-1970s that Maathai became aware of Kenya's ecological decline: watersheds drying up, streams disappearing, and the desert expanding south from the Sahara. On visits to Nyeri she found streams she had known as a child gone—dried up. Vast forests had been cleared for farms or plantations of fast-growing exotic trees that drained the ecosystem of water and degraded the soil.
Maathai began making connections others hadn't. “Listening to the women talk about water, about energy, about nutrition, it all boiled down to the environment,” she told me recently. “I came to understand the linkage between environmental degradation and the felt needs of the communities.”
She hit on the idea of using trees to replenish the soil, provide fuel wood, protect watersheds and promote better nutrition (through growing fruit trees). “If you understand and you are disturbed, then you are moved to action,” she says. “That's exactly what happened to me.” Below Wangari Maathai tells the Story of the Hummingbird
Brigid is the patron saint of Ireland, poets, dairymaids, blacksmiths, healers (White), cattle, fugitives, Irish nuns, midwives, and new-born babies (Roeder). She is still venerated highly in Alsace, Flanders, and Portugal (Montague), as well as Ireland and Chester, England (Farmer).
In the legend of Saint Brigid’s Cloak or Mantle, she found the perfect spot to found her abbey in Leinster, in a place called Kildare. There was an old oak, sacred to the Druids on the premises, making it a holy site. She went to the King of Leinster with four of her maidens and asked him to donate the land for an abbey. The King refused to give her the land. Brigid prayed to God for help, then asked if she could have just the amount of land that her mantle would cover. Laughing in derision, the king agreed. Each of the four maidens took a corner of the cloak, and walked East, North, West and South, the cloak stretching as they walked until it encompassed the parcel of land she desired for her abbey. They king, seeing the miracle, fell to his knees, and could deny her nothing, converting then and there to Christianity. Brighid built her church there, under the shade of the old oak, not far from a well, also dedicated to the saint. A cathedral was built on the site in the thirteenth century, but the original foundations of Brigit’s church still exist!
An Irish blessing: Faoi bhrat Bhríde sinn. May you be under Bride’s mantle. Ireland itself is sometimes described as the ‘green mantle of Brigit’, and the colour green is also associated with the faeries, which links her to her original status as a Goddess among the Tuatha de Danaan.
Red Box - Eucalyptus Polyanthemos- Tony's Tree
On a rainy day in St Kilda.....
On a rainy day in St Kilda Botanical Gardens, my sister Jane and I finally saw the plaque to our brother Tony being installed.
Look forward to meeting family and friends there in finer weather, please visit to enjoy the gardens and a quiet moment. It's in the 'native trees' corner and best to go in the gates on the corner of Dickens and Herbert streets
In Loving memory of
Anthony John (Tony ) Stewart
son of St Kilda
Whose spirit resides in Balibo, East Timor
20 4 1954 - 16 10 1975
River Red Gum
Eucalyptus ovata - Swamp Gum
Acacia melanoxylon - Blackwood
Eucalyptus camaldulensis - River Red Gum
Acacia mearnsii - Black Wattle
"Allah is great and Allah is good," said the Hodja, "but was it indeed wise that such a great tree as this be created to bear only tiny walnuts as fruit? Behold the stout stem and strong limbs. They could easily carry the pumpkins that grow from spindly vines in yonder field, vines that cannot begin to bear the weight of their own fruit. Should not walnuts grow on weakly vines and pumpkins on sturdy trees?"
So thinking, the Hodja dosed off, only to be awakened by a walnut that fell from the tree, striking him on his forehead.
"Allah be praised!" he exclaimed, seeing what had happened. "If the world had been created according to my meager wisdom, it would have been a pumpkin that fell from the tree and hit me on the head. It would have killed me for sure! Allah is great! Allah is good! Allah is wise!"
Never again did Nasreddin Hodja question the wisdom of Allah.
The Old man said that long ago, all the waratahs were white.
In those days the first wonga pigeon camped in the forest with her mate, and they grew fat on the rich food on the ground. They never flew above the trees, because they were afraid of their enemy, the hawk.
One day the wonga pigeons mate went hunting for food but did not return to the camp. She became anxious and set out to search for him, but without success.
After she had been searching for a long time she plucked up her courage and decided to fly above the treetops in an attempt to see him from a height.
She had just left the shelter of the trees when she heard the call of her mate down in the forest. With her heart full of gladness she turned to fly down to him.
But she was too late. The circling hawk had seen her. Swooping down, he clasped her in his sharp claws, tearing her breast open as he carried her upwards. Her blood rained down on the forest, but she tore herself free and hid among the blossoms of the waratahs.
The hawk had just flown away when she again heard her mate calling to her.
Although she was weak from the loss of blood, and could only fight short distances, she endeavoured to reach him. Every time she rested on a white waratah, to recov her strength, her blood stained its bloom. In a final struggle she reached yet anothere waratah and ther she died at the last blood ebbed from her wounded body.
Today the old man explained, it is possible, though it is rare, to find a waratah that has not been the blood of the lonely wonga pigeon who lost her life while searching for her mate.
Wurrundjeri Wattle and William Barak
There is a tree that grows in Barak’s homelands and it is know as the Wurrundjeri wattle and over the centuries the aboriginal people discovered many and varied uses for the wattle. Barak always said it was the best wood for a boomerang, find the right bend in a wattle branch and you had yourself the makings of a fine hunting tool.
Since the white settlers had arrived it seemed to take on an additional meaning, for as the elders of his people died, Beruk observed that it was always at the time the wattle was in bloom. Barak’s father died when the wattle was in flower down by the Yarra River near the Melbourne Zoo and every year at the same time would visit that place. Aboriginal people have come to associate the wattle with death.
He too knew when his time was come and he told his friends that he would be dead before the wattle bloomed again and so he died on the 15th August 1903, as his good friend said,