The Art of Trees


originally published May 2013

If you had not heard, Canberra is celebrating 100 years.  Right now the city is in the advance stages of winter, with all signs being that it will arrive seriously on our leafy door steps this time next week.

This is one of the pleasures of being up here on this hinterland and in the middle of the countryside where someone about 100 years ago thought it wise the plonk the national capital. Because of the location, we get to experience the full gamut of the changing seasons. And right now it is getting cold.

Yes, Canberra is a great place to live. I say this not because I am paid to boast. In fact it is an unwritten rule for those who like this place that we should not tell others about how wonderful it is. Otherwise there is good chance that they move here and spoil it for the rest of us. That’s why we do not react to the usual criticism. Just smile knowing what we enjoy and others do not.

All cities fascinate me. Apparently some people like to go bush to enjoy themselves. For me? I dive into cities and wander about and wonder just what they are all about. I visit cities often. In fact it is a full-time interest to walk the lanes, streets and urban places of cities all over the world.

At this time of the year, it is easy to be reminded of one of the things that many cities and towns can do well. It is its urban forests.

I like trees. I know there are lots of us out there who do, but it is also amazing how many people take our trees for granted.

Ever heard anyone say how much they do not enjoy the drive between Canberra and Sydney. How they find this drive so boring! I hit these roads often as I travel between Canberra and Sydney. I find the mood swings of these landscapes enthralling.  The three-hour drive involves changing landscapes, changing environments and a host of varieties of trees and shrubs. And a very nice place to stop in Mittagong, but that’s my secret.

All highway photos by Gael Newton






and more about trees.

News was circulated in Canberra recently about one of our nearby towns, across the border in New South Wales.

The town of Braidwood is on the highway to the south coast. On the way into Braidwood there’s a small piece of cultural landscape that has come under threat. It may be of little significance to the casual viewer or those who do not know the place.

There’s a line of trees that welcome the road warriors to Braidwood and very sadly a driver or two has been killed in accidents involving these trees. This highway has a dreadful reputation for vehicle accidents.

The trees are located on the highway but more importantly to the community they form the entry to this beautiful and historic country town. As such they are an important part of this township’s cultural landscapes and the community had been looking for these not to be considered simply as ‘highway trees’ and were vocal about any concept of moving the trees back from the road.


The issue has been very much about the speed at which drivers approach this town. The trees could be part of the signal to slow down and maybe take a break and have a cup of tea and spend some time enjoying this historic regional centre.

Click on the Canberra Time’s above for an earlier newspaper article. However, the latest news is good. A change of speed limit has been introduced.


Back to Canberra and the pleasure of trees.

Almost every day I start with a few moments of meditation amongst my local trees and ever amazing ecosystems and enjoy the local street and pathways beneath the trees.


and one more


I often travel by a local park and enjoy the line of gums that change their mood depending on the season and of course whether it is sunny or foggy.   Such a joy every morning to look down this enduring cultural landscape.



Just recently, someone has moved to interfere with such a pleasurable site.


What would they replace such magnificent gums with? Something equally majestic would be logical. Well so you would think. Who makes these decisions?


Is there a point to all this? Yes, I like trees, and I am not sure just how much they are taken for granted and this while trees are so obviously part of our future in dealing with climate change and are always wonderful to be around.

make way for pedestrians….


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