was terrific to be up in the Toolangi Forests to celebrate the opening of the
Kalatha Giant Tree Walk. It seemed a fitting thing to do on National Tree Day.
|The Kalatha Giant, a testament to survival and resilience.|
joined with locals from the Dandenong Ranges as well as Toolangi, Healesville
and Castella locals to celebrate the event. Uncle Roy Patterson Taungurung
Elder conducted a traditional smoking ceremony before the opening, he also did
the welcome to country.
The Kalatha Giant Tree bears
an ancient fire scar and has clearly survived several bushfire events in its
long lifetime. It was selected for celebration as an exemplar of resilience and
survival. The construction of the walk was a community bushfire recovery
initiative to enable visitors to view the tree while protecting it and its
environs. It was
installed by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (now DEPI) with
funding from the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund. The Project was auspiced by
the Toolangi & Castella District Community House and supported by Healesville
Environment Watch Inc. and Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum Inc.
|Pictured left to right: Mark Butler MP, Federal Minister for the |
Environment and Steve Meacher.
It was terrific to see this project come to fruition. Steve Meacher,
Toolangi stalwart, has played a key role in the community after
the 2009 fires and was recognised for his efforts by being
awarded Murrindindi Citizen of the Year, 2013. He has been a
key driver of this project from inception to delivery.
Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus Regnans) is Australia’s
tallest tree and the tallest flowering plant in the world. The Kalatha
Giant is a truly magnificent specimen, one of several in the area dating back
at least three to four hundred years. It has a girth of 16 metres and reaches a
height of approximately 73 metres.
|The stump of this old tree contains the slots used by loggers |
in the past (they put planks in the slots so they could climb the tree
in order to cut it down with an axe where the trunk narrowed).
In those days logging was selective, long before the indiscriminate
clearfell logging of today.
The Toolangi community sits alongside the Toolangi State Forest
on the ridge of the Great Divide. In the Black Saturday fires of February 2009,
about 65% of the forest was burnt. The Kalatha Giant Tree is situated in the
section of the forest that escaped the fires and has become an important pocket
of biodiversity, a refuge for native wildlife and local residents alike. It has
become known locally as the “hole in the donut”.
|One of the key reasons these forests are so |
important is because they are home to our faunal
emblem, the Leadbeater's Possum.
Currently listed as endangered, now being
considered for an upgrade to critically endangered.
It is a
magnificent part of Victoria and reminds us that we do have some beautiful and
pristine tall tree forests in this state, well worth a visit.
|This one isn't the Kalatha Giant, small in comparison,|
but quite enormous. Tragically there's a logging coupe just
uphill from this tree containing magnificent forest. This tree
will be spared as part of the walk, but others wont.
Labels: cr samantha dunn, kalatha giant, steve meacher, toolangi