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Ancient sacred trees - slated for destruction!

8:49:39 PM
Hi folks,

As I presume many others were, I was utterly dismayed to see the Liam Mannix piece in yesterday’s Age denigrating the Victorian climbing community.

Quite obviously several parts of this article were highly dubious or outright wrong and I certainly don’t accept its general premise, but it seems there is at least a perception in some parts of the broader community, no doubt now reinforced, of some sort of tension or ongoing conflict between climbing and indigenous cultural values.

To perhaps go some way to diffusing that, or at least as an indication of good will, I wanted to highlight an issue that is currently of major significance and importance to Victoria’s indigenous community: the imminent threat by VicRoads to bulldoze dozens of sacred and ancient red gums simply to avoid a slight re-routing of the currently-being-upgraded Western Hwy.

If you’ve driven up to the Grampians or Arapiles in recent months you would have no doubt noticed the tent embassy that’s been erected adjacent to the current Western Hwy near Ararat as the focus of the campaign against this proposed destruction so I’m a little surprised that this issue apparently hasn’t been raised on Chockstone before. However the people organising the campaign to save the trees and manning the tent embassy could use (and are asking for) any help they can get – especially right around now!

Further info can found on the Djab Wurrung tent embassy website:

They also have a Facebook page (search for “Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy”) and as a bit of further background (if you didn’t already see it), please read this article from The Guardian a couple of weeks ago:

It would be great if a few people from the climbing community could offer a bit of support to this cause. If you happen to be driving by perhaps you could drop in for 10 or 15 minutes to wish them well, perhaps make a small donation to help them maintain the embassy, or write to the relevant pollies and/or powers that be at VicRoads to argue for the roadworks to be considered and re-routed.

I’m certainly not suggesting climbers do this expecting as any sort of quid pro quo – I think it’s very much a cause worth supporting in its own right – but perhaps a bit of outreach from the climbing community on this might help build better relationships into the future?

11:20:17 PM
Thanks for bringing this to my attention, as it would appear that I live in a backwater when it comes to news of this kind. The links that you provided certainly contain eye-opening detail as the issue is symptomatic of a much bigger problem, and I will be following up our Premier about it.
6:54:05 AM
Amazing the different attitudes from different government departments. GMWater recently recently relazed 18 hectares of mine to remove 3 outlets and have all water delivered from 1 upgraded outlet. Had to have a $5500 aboriginal heritage survey even though every metre had already been lazered and soil turned over, no possible chance of anything left. Then came the remnant tree survey where I was not to disturb soil within 7 metres of one particular grey box tree on the road with a 600 mm table drain for the road within 1 metre of the trunk. This tree was stuck by lightning during a torrential storm and a 600 mm diameter branch fell across the road nearly squashing a car pulled over due extreme rain and will now die Even sugar gum which are not native to the area were treated as remnant . There was a small dead grey box on the dirt minor road 250 mm trunk diameter which was to remain even though it will smash my fence when it falls .

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