Brisbane Lifestyle

A Personal Blog

The bushfires have devastated Australia's trees. But they also bear the scars of colonisation

The ongoing bushfire crisis continues to draw international attention to Australia's landscape, with images of trees — ablaze or charred — beamed across the globe.

The enormous and unprecedented scale of devastation has resulted in widespread calls for a return to Aboriginal land management practices, including "cultural burning".

With Australia labelled "ground zero for the climate catastrophe", it is also time we bring into focus the ideological differences between European and Aboriginal notions of caring for — and indeed, understanding — the land.

Trees have long been icons of our ancient bushland, and they hold deep cultural significance for Aboriginal people.

But they also bear the marks of our contested national history.

An image of a tree with wiring around its trunk.

Marking trees is a tradition that spans back to Captain James Cook, who carved the date and name of his ship in a tree at Kurnell.

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A man in a shirt that says 'Originals' smiles to camera.

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