My happy place

Published 13 Apr 2020 
Kurt Tschirner in a massive Red Gum tree.

Kurt Tschirner

Boolcoomatta Reserve Manager

This Red Gum is massive and many centuries old. Its sheer size and grandeur make it stand out from its kin in the surrounding vegetation of the Oonartra flood-out. There’s a creek line nearby as well as a sand dune that hosts a population of Purplewood (Acacia carneorum), and which has views of the eastern plains stretching to the horizon.

Its large, diverse form is an ‘animal hotel’ – the tree’s limbs, hollows and bark provide habitat for many species. It’s an ecosystem within itself which also highlights its connectedness to the broader landscape. In the mornings, the bird song is impressive as the flood-out provides a very rich and diverse vegetation cover.

Gazing at this tree is like looking back in time; it’s easy to imagine kids over hundreds of years past playing on and around it (as my daughters do now). What games were they playing and what were the issues of the day?

Its timelessness makes this a place of reflection and contemplation. I enjoy taking people there and watching their reactions – especially when they see it for the first time. Just be careful of the inch ants!