Monday, August 21, 2006

Nostalgia - the Mallee tree

They say one-fifth of Australia used to be covered in mallee gum trees. Now, even the area we call Mallee - north-western Victoria - is rather bare. The roots are large, very hard and good for firewood. I have lovely mallee root bookends given to me by a friend Mima, but the wood is generally too hard to carve. The first picture is of a typical mallee tree, the kind near my hometown of Swan Hill. The second picture is of a stump-jump plough - in my grandfather's time, invented so that farmers wouldn't damage their ploughs. Peceli used to say that Mallee farmers were like mallee roots, very strong, resilient, and that you don't bash into them, but like that plough, just ride along with them without damaging yourself in the process! For six years Peceli was a minister at Hopetoun, a memorable time with inspirational and friendly wheat farmers. They are having a rough time this year as the rains came one week, but barely at all since then.


Blogger The Moody Minstrel said...

When I was at the TAFE school near the Blue Mountains I was told that gum trees introduced abroad have actually become an environmental problem. The trouble is that they are uniquely designed to survive in a difficult environment. Put them in easy conditions, and they spread like wildfire, extending their massive roots all over the place and wiping out other types of trees.

Maybe they should try transplanting them back to Australia! ;-)

12:55 AM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

The sugar gums grow very fast indeed. One time when we were living in a small town, Hopetoun, I heard the sound of a chainsaw, and the council guys were chopping down the sugar gums near the road. I raged and yelled at them, but they were doing their job because the roots were damaging the pipes.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

Like these Wendy, they are very much Australian, and yet the second one is something I can remember but is now long gone.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous karen said...

Are tehse malees also eucalyptus (being gums?) or are they different. They certainly look graceful.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Yes Karen, they are a variety of gum trees, small ones though, and with many narrow trunks from the one root.
I'll draw different gum trees if the weather fines up. There are at least five species near the bus stop just around the corner.

2:04 AM  

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