The Big Tree Suffers New Battle Wounds

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On the 8th of October 2014, I published a post about the Big Tree at Guildford.

On Saturday evening, the 28th of February 2015, a cold front preceded by damaging winds swept across Victoria. Locally, the winds had a devastating impact on significant trees – uprooting some and causing major damage to others. Bushland areas from Daylesford to Guildford, from Castlemaine to Elphinstone are now littered with splintered and fallen trees.

Luckily, there was only minor damage to buildings and no one locally was injured or killed. Unfortunately, there was loss of life elsewhere.

As you can see from the photographs, the Big Tree did not escape the battering winds unscathed.  With the loss of some of its major spreading branches, the width of the canopy is now diminished. However, this loss forms another chapter in the life of this long lived tree so it will be interesting to see what happens to the tree in years to come.   DSCN3502

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This photograph shows the remains of a bee hive.

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7 Responses

  1. Hello Margaret

    Re that storm in Feb ’15. My wife and I were returning to Bendigo from Ballarat. We had a great view of the approaching storm as we rounded Mt Franklin. Then the wind hit and we saw the most amazing thing. Off to our left in a paddock a big dead tree just exploded and a torrent of debris was hurled in our direction. A lot of these twigs and small branches slammed into our car. No damage but it was an intense experience. The rain was so heavy we had to pull over. We ended up making a big detour because so many trees were downm We will always remember that storm
    Regards
    Steve

    • Yes Steve, being out in such a violent storm would be an awe inspiring, if somewhat nerve wracking, experience.
      If you happen to be driving between Elphinstone and Taradale along the old Calder Highway, you will see the smashed and splintered remains of a number of trees hit by damaging local winds (mini tornados?) earlier this year.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Jane. Yes, old red gums are full of character.

    The hive shown in the photograph still had some bees hanging around it. Their more fortunate cousins were humming away around their hive high in one of the surviving branches.

  3. What I love about some of our very old gums is their unusual shapes from having lost limbs over the years. They are magnificent with their old gnarly scars and lumps and bumps aren’t they? I think about the fact that so much history has passed while they’ve been living. And I never park under oldish ones when I go on bushwalks, particularly on windy days! There is a lot of weight in those branches. Thank you for sharing more about this impressive tree. The bees nest is very interesting. Was it a fresh hive?

  4. The thing about our eucalyptus trees is that their branches are prone to dropping. They are wonderful habitat for all kinds of things because they are also prone to being invaded by all and sundry. That makes them prize habitat and dangerous to walk under on a very windy day. They can lose a lot of branches and still be very happy with their lot. Natures amputation rids them of old hollow branches that could be prone to fungal infections so that the healthy wood stays safe. That’s a lovely old tree Margaret 🙂

    • Yes, it is a lovely old tree, Fran. It was quite shocking to see the massive branches on the ground. I wonder what will take up residence in the exposed hollows. Perhaps the broken branches will be prize nesting sites for parrots, cockatoos or galahs.

      • That’s the thing about nature, nothing is wasted 🙂

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