The 2010 Suburban Heartland – A History of the City of Whitehorse by Lesley Alves claims “Two scarred trees have been found in Whitehorse – in Blackburn and the Dandenong Creek Parklands…”.
Local residents have long believed that the first is in the far NE corner of Kalang Park on the boundary of private land at 60 Main Street. This is shown clearly in this older Council scar tree brochure.
A scar tree is one where indigenous Australians created a utensil, weapon, canoe, shelter, hunting aid or ceremonial artefact from a tree – leaving a telltale scar. It was thought that a shield was made from our “scar tree”.
Trees can be scarred by other causes such as fire or a nearby tree falling onto them. Most authentic Aboriginal scar trees are over 100 years old and are becoming increasingly rare as the trees age, die and rot. Indeed, our tree is long dead and had become a danger to park users as it rotted away.
Our tree was assessed by elders of the Wurundjeri tribe in 2012 and they did NOT believe the tree was a genuine “cultural” scar tree. The Wurundjeri gave Whitehorse City Council permission to proceed with the cutting of the tree above the alleged scar to remove any risk of the tree falling on the general public.
The scar remains visible. Did the need to cut above the scar imply there was some doubt about the assessment? Could it have been cut for a shield or a canoe ? – what do you think ?
Our so-called “faux” scar tree (now reduced to a large stump) is on the boundary with 60 Main Street – which has been the subject of a controversial development proposal now approved by VCAT. The bollards delineate the park boundary.