This blog post strays from my usual articles on ancient history and mythology. I had promised to showcase images of jarrah and karri trees that are only grown in my home country and state of Western Australia. Both species are amongst the tallest trees in the world, the jarrah growing as tall as 50 metres (approx. 164 feet) and the karri reaching heights of 90 metres and more. (approx. 295 feet tall)
They are the most beautiful trees to stand amongst and been in the presence of. I was very fortunate to have being posted to teach in the region where these amazing beauties grow, and more recently, my sister and I holidayed in Pemberton, one of the towns surrounded by these incredible forests. When you walk amongst these giants, you feel awed, speechless and honoured to be within their midst. These centuries old trees have a quality that leaves you rejuvenated and invigorated.
It is said nature is the best healer and medicine for all, and after revisiting this region, I have to agree. I grew up in a country town and can vouch for the energy and sense of spirituality one can receive from living in a rural area. My spirituality comes from Mother Nature, and when I walk along the beach or in the forest, I am most at home. She gives me a sense of warmth and belonging, other than my immediate family, and gives more than she should. Just like my family.
The jarrah and karri tree belong to the eucalyptus family, and can be dated back to over 50 million years ago when the supercontinent Patagonia existed – Australia, Antarctica and South American continents had once been combined. Unfortunately, when settlers from the UK came to Western Australia in the 1850s, they felled these trees for timber. Jarrah is the hardest wood in the world and is termite resistant.
The south-west region became the home of the timber industry, and saw an increase in the deforestation of these beauties. The jarrah is a rich red with an extraordinary striation and does make for good flooring and furniture. The karri is lighter, has a smooth trunk with yellow creamy and sometimes pinkish tinges. Both are a mecca for bees and the honey produced from the nectar of their flowers is the most delicious you can eat.
The karri tree was used as fire lookout posts from the 1930s to 1950s, and today they are tourist attractions, and if you are feeling energic and not afraid of heights, the vista from the top is worth the climb. The south-west region is home to many unique trees and has the largest insect eating plants in the world, as well as a third of the most carnivorous plants.
In the town of Walpole, visitors can walk amongst these giants – the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk – the first of its kind, is a walkway built 40 metres above the ground. It is visually stunning and most importantly, minimises impact by humans. It is open daily except when the conditions are not safe. The only thing to watch for, especially in the summer is the snakes. Australia does have the most poisonous snakes in the world. They must have got stuck here when the continents started to drift!!
I hope you enjoyed my sojourn into my part of the world and thank you for your continued support. As always, I look forward to your comments and will respond.
Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet.