Murumbeeja Scarred Red Box No 1

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16 Finlayson Pl, Gilmore
Australian Capital Territory
The Gilmore Scarred Tree site is a fine example of the Aboriginal removal of bark for utilitarian purposes, probably for the construction of a canoe. Canoe type scars are a particularly rare Aboriginal site type which are vulnerable to clearing and vandalism, as well as bushfires, aging and weathering. This scarred tree is rare as it is the first local record of a scar on a red box (Criterion B.2). Carved trees are of special social significance to the Aboriginal people in the Canberra region. They demonstrate cultural continuity, they may relate to a broader spiritual context and they are important to the Ngunnawal people for educational purposes (Criterion G.1). They are visual reminders of Aboriginal occupation in the region and contribute to an understanding of this occupation (Criterion C.2).
The tree is located on the southern slope below a ridge line that runs in an east-westerly direction. The slope has been largely cleared of vegetation sometime in the past leaving only two trees existing on the block today. There is also a possibility of some native grass species remaining. Residential development has taken place around the southern slopes of the ridge and houses are now located immediately to the east and south of the tree. The block which contains six housing sections was due for auction to private developers on 15 April 1992, but it has since been withdrawn (possibly temporarily). The species is red box, (EUCALYPTUS POLYANTHEMOS), with an estimated height of 8m and an estimated crown diameter of 11m. It has a marked lean of thirty degrees away from the south-west. The scar is on the south-west face, starting 50cm from base and extends for four metres, with a widest width of 30cm. The shape of the scar and age of the tree make it consistent with a canoe scar. It was the first local record of a scar on a red box. An artefact scatter was also found on the block consisting of Aboriginal stone artefacts. The presence of a canoe type scar at this location may relate to other similar scars in the ACT and especially along the Murrumbidgee corridor. This is larger than the scar at Lanyon and the scar at Athllon Drive. Aboriginal scarred trees are rare sites as they are extremely vulnerable to clearing, vandalism, fire, weathering and age. Aboriginal people created scarred trees when they removed the bark of the tree, usually for utilitarian purposes to make utensils to carry water, foodstuffs and babies and to make canoes. The scarred trees of the ACT are particularly important to the Ngunnawal Aboriginal people because of their high cultural, historic and educational significance. Sites such as this represent a sense of place to the Aborigines where their ancestors once stayed and left a visible sign of their presence. The Ngunnawal people wish to preserve sites like this with a view to educating their children about the history and culture of the Aborigines in this region of the highlands.