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Successful Partnership Preserves Butchulla Scarred Tree

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A quick response from BAC Directors, Butchulla members and Land and Sea rangers, QPWS rangers and the Coastal and Islands teams means a significant scarred tree near Central Station on K’gari will be preserved well into the future.

On the morning of 11 November, a crew of Butchulla men (including the BAC’s Conway Burns and Bob Broome), QPWS rangers (including Rachel Killer and Boyd Blackman), a tree lopper with a front-end loader, and a tow truck with a 4WD cherry picker gathered to safely lop the tree considered unsafe by an arborists report commissioned in October.

The tree was dead and showed advanced signs of decay. However, the trunk and its canoe scar were in good condition and clearly visible.

Before starting work, a smoking ceremony was conducted by Conway Burns close to the tree. Griffith University assisted the project by making a 3-D scan of the scar as a record.

Griffith University were able to assist by scanning the scarred tree

BAC Director Conway Burns stated, “By making a permanent record of the scar, we know that it can be replicated in the future if needed.”

The tree was lopped above the scar in short sections and safely lowered to the forest floor. A safe and respectful job was done by Zack and Owen from Advanced Trees, a local indigenous-owned business. Linseed oil was used as a preservative on the scar, and the top of the tree was ‘capped’ to prevent further water ingress.

Gayle Minniecon, BAC Director and Chairperson, agreed that swift action should be taken to ensure public safety and preserve Butchulla culture. “Well done to the team. A true and successful partnership process and outcome. What is good for the land comes first,” she said.

Talks between Butchulla representatives and QPWS Coastal and Islands regional officers have been ongoing this year to determine how best to preserve the scarred tree.

Acting Regional Director for QPWS, Steve Price, said, “I acknowledge the Butchulla’s cultural knowledge and decision to lop and treat the tree to save it. Public safety and the risk to visitors are always a major priority for us all in the ongoing management of K’gari. This was a good result, and it’s pleasing to see the collaboration leading to the preservation of the tree.”

Article contributed by Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Partnerships

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