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Ti Totems, Rochedale

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Comments (1)

Ian Stehbens on May 21, 2008

These trees are commonly referred to as ti-trees and are Melaleucas! This botanical genetic name refers to them being black (mela) and white (leuca). But they are never black unless there has been a fire, then the outer burnt bark is black and peeling it reveals underlying white bark.

One of the ecological concepts that is underestimated in Australia, I believe, is the extent to which the aboriginal people used fire on the Australian continent, in the pre-European period.

It is often said that the First People lived in harmony with their environment. But, it was an environment which they had created through repeated burning, often in very controlled ways, and there were also much use of fire that was much less controlled. So much of our forests are fire-resistant or fire induced species. Yet when, fire is excluded for long periods, or in areas where wildfire could not access because of the local arrangement of water ways, the fire tolerant species are absent altogether.

These straight trunks are reminiscent for me of Tiwi burial poles. But there is one imposter among them - the smoke stack of the nearby brickworks, which brings us back to the city and away from the bush!

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on May 17, 2008
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens