The bush is dying

Sunset, 22 Oct 2009
Dunmoochin, 22 Oct 2009

Some say Dunmoochin is dying. In recent years the drought has drawn moisture from most parts of Victoria at an astonishing rate.

No more so than at Dunmoochin where, despite the recent rains and over-flowing dams in other parts of the catchment, here the canopy has lost its dense foliage and the ground in parts are littered with the fallen trunks of dehydrated trees.

Dunmoochin resides in what is described as a rain shadow. It has, as Clifton Pugh’s son, Shane describes, always been dry. That said, the events of recent years have seen a substantial decrease in the water table here, so much so that trees that would once survive on the lightest of rain-falls, have dried and fallen in a crest of shattered branches and splintered trunks, some black as if mercilessly scorched.

The guitarist, Sebastian Jorgensen, at an open studio day at Dunmoochin, told a small gathering of thoroughly engaged listeners, that the local Aboriginals to this area, revered and protected the Koala. At a time when indigenous communities held even more profound knowledge than those that survived colonisation, a curse was placed on any who brought harm to the Koala. Were  they to  eat of it’s flesh or warm themselves with its fur, a drought would fall on the land.

The Koala derives all its moisture from the Eucalypt and these trees, although thirsty, do survive through the harshest of conditions. Humans cannot.

Perhaps, Sebastian suggested, we are still bound to this curse, and not only Dunmoochin, but throughout the country. Not only had the colonisers sought to hunt the Koala, they pillaged the land and decimated its people. Will there be no end to the suffering?

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2 thoughts on “The bush is dying”

  1. I still think that Dorothea McKeller got it right in her poem ‘My Country’ (1904) – not much has changed in a century.

    ‘I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains,
    Of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains.
    I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea,
    Her beauty and her terror- the wide brown land for me!

    I think suffering and joy are part and parcel of the same thing!
    ‘A curse is also a joy – the night is also the sun’ (Nietzsche).
    Julie 🙂

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