Is this an Aboriginal scar tree ?

Aussie123

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I’d like to challenge you have a look at this picture and try and determine if you think this is an Aboriginal Scar tree or not.

You can ask questions and I’ll try and respond as quickly as I can.
(This is not a trick question, hopefully you will find this exercise informative)

Some general information:
- The tree is a alive.
- It is a river red gum.
- The diameter is approx 70cm.
- Nearby (within a few km) are documented Aboriginal and European scar trees (see my RMIT thread: http://bushcraftoz.com/forums/showthread.php?7912-Scar-Trees-and-heritage-trail-RMIT-Bundoora-Campus )
- The nearest point of the Plenty River is approx 1.2 Km away (as the crow flies), the river meanders back and forth. The river has very steep banks (ie its in Plenty Gorge)
- The tree is in a park area surrounding buildings, the buildings are approx 30 – 40m away.
- There is lawn and mulch on the ground of the park

20141125_194002 (Medium).jpg

Have a close look at the picture, (if you click on it you will see an enlarged view).

What are the distinguishing features which may help to determine if this is an Aboriginal scar tree ?

Is this an Aboriginal scar tree ?
 

GTVi

John McDouall Stuart
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To me this resembles trauma (i.e. branch tear) damage instead of Aboriginal scar. The reasons is that the top part of the scar displays excessive damage. The over growth around the scar does not appear to be excessive, for it to imply the scar is 100 years old. The shape of the scar is not consistent and well rounded (or even canoe shape) to imply anything Aboriginal. or with reference to other known Aboriginal scars.

If it s a man made tree scar, then its probably a European scar tree, because there are tool marks at the lower half of the scar.

Having said all of t hat, it was my best guess, and I have no idea.

What is the length of the scar? and how tall is the tree?
 
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Hairyman

Ludwig Leichhardt
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Probs not this one Aussie, it looks like a large branch came off taking some bark and soft wood down to the ground, there is a similar scar on a tree near my place which had the branch blown
off in a storm.
 
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Aussie123

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To me this resembles trauma (i.e. branch tear) damage instead of Aboriginal scar. The reasons is that the top part of the scar displays excessive damage. The over growth around the scar does not appear to be excessive, for it to imply the scar is 100 years old. The shape of the scar is not consistent and well rounded (or even canoe shape) to imply anything Aboriginal. or with reference to other known Aboriginal scars.

If it s a man made tree scar, then its probably a European scar tree, because there are tool marks at the lower half of the scar.

Having said all of t hat, it was my best guess, and I have no idea.

What is the length of the scar? and how tall is the tree?
Some great observations.

The scar was about 3.5m tall; overall the tree was 15 - 20 m tall (?)

This is where I have the advantage: I didn't see any tool marks on the tree, or anything which I suspected to be tool marks.
It seems unusual to actually see tool marks - perhaps because any marks have probably had many decades (or hundreds of years) to weather and become healed over.

There is strong evidence that there was a large branch at the top section of the scar, and the scar starts where you would expect a tear (of a branch) to start, and runs all the way to the ground .... like a branch being "ripped" off and pulling bark with it.

The shape is not consistent with a canoe, but sheets of bark were removed for other purposed and tools. Coolamons (bowls), shields, and large sheets for roofing and (sometimes) bedding material; the latter two sometimes being more rectangular is shape. European settlers in this area also used bark sheets in this area - often rectangular.

The healing of the scar: There is quite a lot of healing and it does not look very old, esp the area at the top of the scar. To be an Aboriginal scar, it must have been pre 1900 (for this area - I guess).
- Is this scar likely to be that old ?


- What about the size of the tree. It is still living. Could it be old enough ?
 

Aussie123

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Probs not this one Aussie, it looks like a large branch came off taking some bark and soft wood down to the ground, there is a similar scar on a tree near my place which had the branch blown
off in a storm.
It is quite common to see that sort of damage, especially on gum trees - branches ripping, or forks splitting.

It is also quite common for the tree to sprout new growth above a damaged area like that (there is a name for that but it escapes me ??).

My understanding is that is was "uncommon" (but not unknown) for Aboriginal people to strip all the way to the ground; I guess they preferred to cut the sheet off above ground level.
 

Quinto

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It's called epicormic growth and it's very common on eucalypts! The missing limb could have been epicormic itself since they sprout straight out the side of the main trunk they aren't as strong as a fork in the main growth
 
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