Thursday, April 22, 2010


Ngambri scarred tree, Wanniassa

What Are Scarred Trees?
Scars on trees can result from the deliberate removal of bark by Aboriginal people for a variety of reasons. Tree bark was an integral component of Aboriginal material culture. It was deliberately removed in order to:
  • use the bark for shelter, canoes and domestic articles such as coolemons;
  • create a marker tree;
  • allow access to other tree resource e.g.
  • sometimes toeholds were cut into trees to assist climbers obtain bird’s eggs or possums;
  • sometimes carved patterns in the tree trunks served ceremonial purposes and some indicate burial sites.
Scarred Trees of the ACT
The practice of creating scarred trees does not appear to have survived into the 20th century in the ACT region, and therefore any such trees would have to be older than 100 years. Scarred trees are relatively rare. Due to early land clearing practices of the early European settlers in the region, as well as natural attrition, scarred trees are not very common and are assigned a much higher significance in the ACT than they may be elsewhere in the country. There are a few scarred trees on the property of Lanyon as well as in the suburbs of Wanniassa, Gilmore, Garran and Kambah.

First stop was a suburban block at 38 Sainsbury Street, Wanniassa, ACT.

Scarred tree within the Wanniassa Hills Primary School playing area, (known to the children as the "Spook Tree"), Wanniassa, A.C.T.,

the kids at the school apparently call it the "Spook Tree" because if you get down low and look up....

Small scar (lighter shows size)
Scarred tree in Sainsbury Street play area, opposite Spensley Place, Wanniassa, A.C.T

The canoe trees in St Anthony's Catholic school in Wheeler crescent in Wanniassa

A lot of these places are hard to find. You can walk past a scarred tree and not even know it but as soon as you become aware of it, that there was an occupation that people live did in Australia before we got here, and they are an historical reminder of that occupation.

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  1. A fascinating read/photos Dave, I had no idea what that scarring was caused by. Now I will have a new appreciation, thank you.

  2. I have been trying to get a few I have found in Red Hill, Pearce and on the Parkway in Tuggeranong assessed and registered at the moment Lynn. Since discovering what they were I find them now quite regularly. Lucky to live in a Bush Capital.

    Cheers Dave


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