What is the attraction of a preserved tree in the Outback town of Barcaldine?
The Tree of Knowledge is a ghost gum tree, self seeded and the settlement of Barcaldine built up around it. The Tree has given shade to Aboriginal wanderers and early pioneers as they explored and settled the west.
It was a meeting place for the Salvation Army and became a gathering place for the shearers when the "rich pastoral owners" decided to cut back the shearers wages and change their conditions. The shearers invited the Station Owners to a meeting to discuss the situation "in a fair and liberal spirit" but not one of them turned up. So the shearers continued the meeting and instead formed what was to become the Shearers Union, Carriers Union and even an Employers Association "to help prevent strikes".
Unionism spread like wildfire via bush telegraph with shearers wanting better conditions and employers wanting conditions to be reduced to reflect their declining land valuations and profit.
There were no winners.
This huge timber structure was created to protect the tree.
Over the years Tree has become a symbol of struggle and striving for a fair go.
When the Salvation Army met under the tree it was known as the "Alleluia Tree".
Ironically, as Adam and Eve found out by eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, enlightenment and conscience come at a price.
The above information has been gleaned from the Legend of the Tree Brochure
The Tree survived two termite infestations and an insect attack with the intervention of man. And it was at the hand of man the tree was poisoned in 2006, by an unknown person.
My photos do not do this Memorial justice.
It was also suggested that visitors take a pub crawl of the pubs in town. We found an affinity with this pub.
It turned out to be an interesting visit to Barcaldine, with street Art, street instruments and a historic building walk. Mr S was even enticed to display his xylophone skills.
We ended the day drinking in the stars at a bush camp just out of town.
The old Radio Theatre, now restored and offering movies Friday to Sunday.
To finish, a selection of some of the street art...
Two Kiwi's who have retired early to travel the world. Share our journey with us.