by Roger Findlay

A big tree: my personal story…

Big Tree - Dip River Forest Reserve Tasmania
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Big Tree, Dip River Forest Reserve Tasmania

I am about to tell you of the time I first visited Tasmania and of the lasting impression that hit me in less than twelve hours on the island. We were travelling towards Smithton, not far from Stanley on the north west coast of Tasmania. It was a dark, and rainy afternoon but there was still time to catch a glimpse of our first big tree in the Dip River Forest Reserve near Mawbanna.

Dip Falls is an impressive waterfall in the Dip River Forest Reserve, and after visiting we took the short walk through the dripping canopy before arriving at the incredible Big Tree. This giant of the forest is an estimated 400 years old. It’s height has reduced to a mere 62 metres from a probable 90 metres plus. Around the tree is a platform so that the visitor can appreciate the 17 metre girth.

Big Tree - Dip Falls
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Dip Falls, Big Tree: north west coast Tasmania

I was looking at the top of this towering big tree and could feel the tears running down my cheeks. The emotion could only be from my fear of man cutting the giant down. Since that day, I have seen many similar trees and my emotions have always been the same.

Big Tree - Tarkine Tasmania
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Roger Findlay: Big Tree

This Land is My Land

Now don’t you start thinking that I’m an extremist! Yes, I have lots of Dylan, Baez and Seeger… but I’d never been on a protest march until one particular Saturday when the wife went shopping in Hobart.

Big Tree - This Land is My Land
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This Land is My Land protest march: Hobart, Tasmania

Local gardening guru and TV presenter Peter Cundall was addressing a crowd of people outside Parliament House on the issues of logging in The Blue Tier and the Tarkine region. I found myself in agreement with what he was saying and joined the protest march through the city streets to the Forestry Tasmania building.

Big Tree - Peter Cundall
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Peter Cundall: peaceful rally in Hobart Tasmania

Two young ladies dressed as ravens did their dance on the tray of the logging truck; forestry workers peacefully defended their position and I went to Knopwoods for a few pints of the best while reflecting on what I had done and who I was doing it for.

Editor’s Note:  we must say a big thank-you to Roger for sharing his personal thoughts with us. We can show you photos of spectacular Tasmanian wilderness and features like the Big Tree, but it’s a very brave thing to express publicly in words exactly how this land of Tasmania makes him feel. Well done!

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Map of Big Tree, Dip River Forest Reserve Tasmania