Saturday, 14 September 2013

THE most impressive monument.



There are monuments all over the world, to this and that, statues, buildings, 'installations.'  And yet the one that has impressed me most is in a small town in Outback Queensland -  Barcaldine.
It is rather pompously called 'The Tree of Knowledge.  It is built around a dead tree, a particularly significant tree.
 

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It is when you are underneath and looking up that this creation takes your breath away.  The contrasts of the projecting pieces of wood,  the sunlight shining through, and above all, the gentle and musical clinking of the pieces of timber as they move in the breeze.  It is like being in the middle of an enormous set of wind chimes.








The history it commemorates: 


In 1891, Queensland's shearers fought the pastoralists for better working conditions and for the right to exclude non-unionised shearers from the sheds. The pastoralists preferred to hire whom they chose. There was a strike that became widespread and was influential in the beginnings of the Australian Labor Party.  (The ALP is now one of the two main political parties in Australia.)

 Meetings were held under a large Ghost Gum, and this tree came to symbolise the significance of this beginning.  In 2006, the tree died. The monument was built around what remained. Funding was from several sources, including rate-payers, some of whom still complain.  But the 'Tree of Knowledge' brings visitors, and it really is very impressive.  It was opened in 2009.





Some of the strikers served prison sentences,  though there was probably more involved than just a refusal to work in a shearing shed.




I didn't see the monument at night.  It is supposed to be even better.
 
The memorial won a National Commendation for Public Architecture at the 2010 National Architecture Awards.  (from Wikipaedia)

 
 

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1 comment:

  1. Congrats to the tree owners for displaying it so wonderfully. how inspiring. There's a giant Beobub tree at Kew, good for cogitating beside.

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