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Firestorm tree tells story again


Megan Doherty

A symbol of community resilience after the 2003 bushfires - the Firestorm Story Tree - has been restored after it fell into disrepair.

Arts Minister Joy Burch has promised the artwork will be subject to a formal maintenance plan, reviewed on an annual basis.

''It will be looked after,'' she said.

The restored <i>Firestorm Story Tree</i> in Kambah.

The restored Firestorm Story Tree in Kambah. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

The tree, in the Mount Taylor Estate at the base of Mount Taylor in Kambah, was one of the few in the immediate area left standing after the devastating firestorm swept through on January 18, 2003.

Artist Bryan Carrick intricately carved the tree showing events it would have witnessed over more than 200 years, from Aboriginal times to the firestorm to the regeneration.

The work was unveiled in 2005 but over time had deteriorated.

Following representations from the Mount Taylor Estate Residents' Association, the government allocated $104,000 to the restoration of the tree turned artwork.

Internal Conservation Services stabilised and restored the tree, engaging Carrick to carve new elements.

The restored tree was unveiled on Friday by Ms Burch and Mr Fuller, who said it had become an important touchstone of resilience and community spirit after the fires.

‘‘After the fires, it gave us something positive to focus on because quite a number of people here lost their homes and those who didn’t were living in a war zone for quite some time,’’ he said.

The idea for the carved tree came from Kambah resident Paul Adcock, a member of the the woodworking group Auspicious Arts.

Mr Adcock said it was essential the work was maintained in the future.

‘‘It’s a beautiful piece of work and to see it become degraded, has a psychological effect. And in this community, no one was left unaffected by what happened,’’ he said.

Pam Cording from nearby Fanning Place fought the fires and lost her gardens. She said the community had taken ownership of the regeneration of the area and the tree was a significant part of  that.

Ms Burch said as a Tuggeranong resident she understood the importance of the tree and ‘‘considered it important to preserve it for future generations’’.

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