The Big Tree, Guildford


We slowly circle the giant,

This locally revered landmark.

A cockatoo and corella are facing off

Screeching louder and LOUDER,

Adding weight to its claim for dominance,

The corella snips off small leafy twigs

Which flutter to the ground.

There is the quiet sound of buzzing,

A hive of bees is resident in a hollow.

Unseen, a pardalote ripples its call.

We gaze up into the vast canopy

In awe.

5th of October 2014, Guildford









 This photograph shows two branches which have fused together.







The Big Tree is a River Red Gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis.

For those of  you interested in statistics, the tree is 30 metres high and its trunk has a circumference of 9.35 metres. The canopy has a spread of 34 metres.

The tree is more than 500 years old.

In the 1990s, two roads were realigned and power lines relocated to help preserve the tree.

The cockatoo is the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, the corella, the Little Corella and the pardalote, the Striated Pardalote.


10 Responses

  1. Thanks for getting back to me with further information, Steve.

  2. Hello
    You say the “branches fused together”. But I have heard it said that the Aborigines tied the limbs together when the tree was a sapling because it was a boundary tree.

    • Thank you for your comment. I was unaware this was a practice among local Aborigines in times past.
      Unfortunately, the branches shown in this post broke off during damaging winds in February 2015.

      • Hello Margaret
        I learnt about the branches from a friend who was told that by a Koori friend and a couple of months ago a Koori elder from Swan Hill confirmed that that was the case

  3. A wonderful sentinel. Love your words and drawing.

    • Thank you, Enivea. Big trees are really important in this district as so much of the native woodland was cleared to provide timber for the gold mining operations and for farming. The bushland we now see is largely regrowth.

      In front of the Big Tree is a sign with a photograph taken in much earlier times. The Big Tree is the only tree. In front of it is a lamp post. On the hill behind it are a couple of houses with some new plantings. The hill top which is now vegetated is bare in the old photograph.

  4. What a beautiful old tree, Margaret; so full of character. How wonderful that man-made infrastructure moved around it in this case.

    Love your drawing, also.

    • Thank you. I was also impressed by the efforts to preserve the tree. It is testimony to its iconic status in the small township of Guildford that the infrastructure was altered to accommodate the tree.
      I had the pleasure of drawing the tree on a beautiful, sunny spring morning.

  5. I am always fascinated with the odd knots and growths on trees. We have many of these strange humps and lumps in our woodland trees. What a spectacular tree the River Red Gum is… what a grand history!

    • Thanks Lori, Yes, it’s the odd knots, growths, and twisted branches which make trees interesting – a bit like people whose faces bear the lines, creases and, dare I say, wrinkles gathered over life.

      A mature River Red Gum is a magnificent tree.

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