Red Gum Once on Significant Tree Register Chopped Down in Bullaburra, NSW

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Anderson's Tours will no longer be able to include the Red Gum tree as part of their famous Blue Mountain tour experiences. Bullaburra, one of the small towns located off Route 32 in the Blue Mountain valley, has lost a longtime resident – a 300-year-old, thick, rustic-looking Red Gum tree.

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This tree would have seen generations of Gundungurra and Darug people rest under its boughs and no doubt [the explorers] Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth passed its gracious trunk.

Bullaburra, one of the small towns located off Route 32 in the Blue Mountain valley, has lost a longtime resident – a 300-year-old, thick, rustic-looking Red Gum tree.

The Red Gum, part of the Eucalyptus family, is scattered throughout the Blue Mountains and is an integral part of the forest land. In addition to adding to the Mountains' natural beauty, it plays an important role in nature. It provides a source of refuge from the hot Australian sun to wildlife and stabilises river banks that run through the dense forest.

After being removed from the Significant Tree Register by the Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) in 2009, the tree became the center of debate between Bullaburra residents and council members. After deciding a highway needed to be widened, the tree was seen as an obstacle to the project. When it was removed on April 3, it devastated people like Katoomba resident Aanya Mary.

“This tree would have seen generations of Gundungurra and Darug people rest under its boughs and no doubt [the explorers] Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth passed its gracious trunk," she told the Blue Mountains Gazette.

Being a resident of Katoomba, a larger town west of Bullaburra, she's surrounded by many trees on the short Significant Tree Register list. Trees like the Blue Mountain Ash on Old Bathurst Road., the Radiata Pine on Kamillaroi Road, and the Latin-named Cedrus atlantica glauca on Coomonderry Street. All located in Katoomba, these are just some of the trees Blue Mountain dwellers consider "part of the family."

To help ease the pain of loss, council members and the Roads of Maritime Services (RMS) in New South Wales are working to make good use of the chopped-down tree.

According to the Blue Mountain Gazette, a spokesperson from RMS said, "RMS began working with the community on ideas of how to preserve the historic wood of the tree. The Blue Mountains Woodturners Group will use some of the wood to create ukuleles and other parts of the tree will be milled and made into furniture."

In addition to this, there's also talk about a plaque being made with the stump of the tree. Considered a "final resting place," if made, the plaque will most likely be placed in Ballaburra Park at the request of town residents.

As for replacing the lost tree, the new landscape next to the widened highway will be filled with 150 new Angophora trees.

If you're interested in seeing trees like the Red Gum that reside in the Blue Mountains, call Anderson's Tours at + 61 2 9636 6111 or visit them online (AndersonsTours.com.au) to reserve your spot on the next Blue Mountains Tour.

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Lana Alegria
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