Monday, March 26, 2012

Lucky last: 140 year old Norfolk Is. Pine on Churchill Is.

This is my final blog about Churchill Island, and I've chosen the Norfolk Island pine for lucky last -- because it's so special.

From a distance, Churchill Island appears as a small bump on the horizon, but it's a bump with a differences. Midway along the bump something tall extends skywards -- a 38 metre tall Norfolk Island pine.

Planted in 1872 by Samuel Amess -- and propagated by his friend Ferdinand Von Mueller at the Royal Botanic Gardens -- the tree is still growing strongly.

Its trunk is broad and invites you to touch, to stroke; to feel the strength flowing up from roots thrust deep into rich volcanic soil. Perhaps the roots have tapped into an underground water supply, but even if they haven't, rainfall on the island is regular and plentiful.

Samuel Amess planted the Norfolk Island pine on the highest point of the island, alongside his newly built home. Now, in the year 2012, it's a grand tree able to be seen from all around Western Port Bay. It's a definite landmark.

Running my fingers over the bark I felt its rough texture, heard a breeze playing in the topmost branches, smelt the distinctive aroma of pine. I continued to stroke, letting my mind drift, dream ----.

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