TIMBER & FORESTRY INDUSTRY
1954 - Do You Know This Tree? Illustrated by Charles Meereg - By WARATAH RED GUMS are as plentiful and varied as Grey Gums, Blue Gums g and even White Gums.
Their common names are mostly bestowed on the trunk colour of these usually smooth skinned, picturesque and truly Australian trees.
Very often the term is a local one. A Grey Gum maybe fondly known as such in one area because its trunk and limbs are grey coloured. Elsewhere, especially in thickly forested country, it could be called a Forest Red Gum. That is because of the deeply tinted timber for milling and sleepers. Ap>As Eucalyptus punctata is one of these seeming chameleons which used to soar from the sandstone and slaty ridges as near Brisbane Water. There it is surely grey, with a pink and blotching on the smooth bark, making it attractive yet not really alluring. It has some times an "iron-man" aloof look about it.
On the other hand, its a closely related species, the Grey Gum (Shiress's) of the lower Blue Mountains and coastal uplands (E. shiressii) is a beautiful, noble and imposing tree.
Blakely's Red Gum (E. blakelyii), as you can see by the Yellow Box in the background, is an inland tree of the slopes and tablelands. I used to roam the ridges out of Yass, Gunning and Dalton, botanising and seeking suitable subjects for pictures. Yellow Box, "Old Apples" and White Box supplied splendid specimens for those studies.
But you need a tree with character and colour in its trunk to give a true picture. Eucalyptus blakelyii provided it here on the alluvial flats of the Fish River, which is mostly more sand than stream at this point before it breaks out to become the mighty Lachlan. Pendulous lazy branches, burdened by bunches of lanceolate leaves give it an almost arrogantly Australian mien and atmosphere.
ALSO the trunk line, roughly broken by a big bump, is an artist's dream. It simply breathes the spirit of the bush and that hillock yonder could surely be an aboriginal's sacred hill of initiation rites in days gone by.
For my part, I knew Blakely's Red Gum intimately at Tumut and along the Gilmore Valley, where its red timber could be often seen exposed, WBMMÊmmm where a giant had been felled. The pity of it is that more of its kind were not retained though Tumut has done handsomely by it on the river flats.
Back along some of the Tumut River tributaries Red Gums have been wasted. Their timber is classed "moderately durable," but it is very hard and heavy, lasting well in the ground as fence posts. Firecutters dodge it because their axes need to be sharp and muscles tough to tackle its grain. - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Saturday 15 May 1954).
Today the town is remarkably prosperous largely due to the success of the timber industry. Long term planting of softwood pine forest by the NSW Forestry Department - there is now more than 5000 hectares of pinus radiata grown within a radius of 25 km of Tumut - has ensured a regular and reliable source of timber (unencumbered by any environmental problems) and this prosperity has seen the town become one of the most attractive medium-sized settlements in rural New South Wales. It is estimated that nearly 20 per cent of the town's population now work either directly or indirectly in the forestry/timber industry.
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