Broulee Canoe Tree – Broulee, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Broulee Canoe Tree

Broulee, Australia

This tree, with its large oval-shaped scar, is a rare piece of Aboriginal cultural history. 

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This rare example of an Aboriginal scarred tree is one of the most accessible in eastern Australia. On the trunk of the redgum tree is an oval-shaped scar, left when an enormous sheet of bark was removed to make a canoe. There are indications that the bark was cut using a stone ax. The height of the cutting shows that one man stood on the shoulders of another to take the bark from the best position.

Believed to be around 200 years old, the tree has narrowly escaped destruction several times. Its survival can be attributed in part to Hilda Zandoroff, a longtime resident of the Moruya/Broulee district. Zandoroff noticed that the large elliptic scar on the tree resembled markings on trees in the Tuross area, which had been made by Aborigines cutting out bark sheets to make canoes. Her discovery was confirmed by the Canberra Archaeological Society in 1978.

Archaeological work along the south coast of New South Wales has uncovered Aboriginal sites that date back as far as 20,000 years. Aboriginal people used bark from particular types of trees to make a variety of objects including canoes, containers, boomerangs, and shelters. Other trees feature carved motifs that are often associated with burials and ceremonial areas. These scarred and carved trees remain significant to Aboriginal people and are protected by legislation.

Know Before You Go

The tree is located on the corner of George Bass Drive and Broulee Road in Broulee, and can easily be spotted from the highway. There is a small carpark. 

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