The Blacksmiths Tree Project

In Strathewen beautiful mosasic letterboxes signify the rebirth of a country community that was devastated by bushfire back in 2009. I wrote about it last week.  Just a couple of kilometres out of the tiny settlement is an amazing tree that I nearly missed when I was there recently.  And which I revisited today.

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It’s located at the Peter Avoca Memorial Pavillion, a place you could easily drive through without blinking an eye lid if you didn’t know the history.

After bush fire ravaged this area it was a long time before rebuilding was complete and residents moved back in to start a new life.  Today it’s a lovely country drive but not really on the way to anywhere significant.  An ordinary Australian community.

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Then in the middle of nowhere, you see it. Beyond the pavilion.  A tree reaching to the sky, seemingly blending into nature but quite a separate entity.  It was erected on Valentines Day in 2014 and took five years to make, thanks to the Australian Blacksmiths Association and Project Manager Amanda Gibson.

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It stands 10 metres high and is made from copper and stainless steel.  It looks like a dead, fire affected gum tree and stands as a memorial for those who lost their lives.

Hundreds of blacksmiths from 20 countries around the world forged these leaves.

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Although this is not a real tree what it stands for is very real.

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The tree includes 3500 leaves inscribed with the names of people who died in the Black Saturday bushfires as well as messages of hope for those left behind.

Hundreds of volunteers worked tirelessly and gave their time and effort to make this project become a reality.  Like the letterboxes it’s another reminder of the human spirit which flourished after such terrible destruction.

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Today the tree seems to blend perfectly into the landscape around it.

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All because of the strength and resilience and hard work of this community and the kindness of people around the world in forging together for a common purpose.

Underneath the tree base is the inscription:

I have risen from the flames
I have stretched across the earth
I am shining with your name

Forged with fire, made with love.

This post is in response to Jithin’s Mundane Monday Challenge #61 – a challenge to find beauty in the ordinary things.

Wishing you beauty, hope and strength as we move into a new week.


97 thoughts on “The Blacksmiths Tree Project

  1. Hi Miriam.

    Although I have been out of (The Blacksmithing) trade for over 20 years, I can see how much skill , dedication and love has gone into the memorial tree.

    Those involved in the project are to be commended, This is indeed a touching tribute.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That sculpture is beautiful, poignant, stark and restful – all simultaneously. Thank you for sharing this. I am deeply moved by such commitment, art and the human urge to remember what has been lost.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think these are my favorite pictures you’ve posted ever! I love things like this so much. That bench is the most amazing bench I’ve ever seen. And the tree… wow… so beautiful! I’m so jealous that you have this near you! I’ve not been able to find anything like it (or the mosaic mailboxes) around here… I think things like this may exist here, but Google has not helped me find them!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow, what a comment Sandra, I’m so glad you were inspired by the pics. It really is an incredible place. I wish you lived closer to me so I could take you out and see it all in person!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How beautiful a memorial. I remember seeing reports about the fire in the news during that time period, and realizing what a terrible tragedy is was. I didn’t realize so many years had already passed though. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, it’s hard to believe so much time has passed. In some ways I remember it like it was yesterday. The fires were heading towards us at one stage before the wind turned …

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m so glad you shared this. This is one the most amazing memorials I have ever seen. All those leaves forged by different people in different countries. It’s a great way to commemorate those who lost their lives, but it is also a nice reminder that no matter how much ocean lies between, how different the politics or religion we all live on the same planet and when we come together we can create greatness.

    -Steve

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You’re so absolutely right Steve. It also reminds us that we’re all really the same, no matter where we live. A lot of love, time and effort went into the Blacksmith Memorial Tree. Thanks for your heartfelt comment.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re so sweet. Fire season has well and truly passed Rob. But back in 2009 the fires got frighteningly close, before the wind changed direction. We were so much luckier than many people.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I just love this, Miriam! Both my husband’s uncle and a friend lost their homes in the devastating 2009 bushfires, but luckily not their lives. This tree is a beautiful reminder of those who were not so lucky, and also of the community spirit that rallied round to rise again from the ashes.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. I remember walking down our garden and it being so hot it was like being in an oven, and the wind seemed to be coming from everywhere at once… I hope you were far enough away from it all.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Wow, that’s very close indeed! You were lucky indeed. We were down on the Mornington a Peninsula, but could still see and smell the smoke. Don’t know what I would have done had it been that close – I imagine you must have been getting ready to leave.

          Liked by 2 people

  7. Reblogged this on Unmeasured Journeys and commented:
    Don’t you just love the capacity of the human heart and how when others are hurting, people seem to drop what they’re doing and help out?

    Last night a blogging friend, Genevieve, wrote about the fires in Alberta and reading it got me to thinking about the beauty of the human spirit.

    I love how when disaster strikes, differences seem to melt away, leaving an almost united force of good.

    When I read Miriam’s story, I knew I wanted to share it. This tree! This glorious tree. The memories, the history, the details on the leaves… Oh my.

    It reminds me of Glory, the tree in our back yard. I just wrote a story about it a few days ago. Writing and even reading it, put tears in my eyes. I think it was simply the symbolism that trees have that parallel our lives.

    This monument that Miriam writes about is beyond amazing. Thank you for letting me share it, Miriam.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome Jessica and I love how you’ve compared it to your own Glory tree. Lots of symbolism that goes way beyond what we see, but that truly parallel our lives, the heartache that we often suffer and the resilience of the human spirit to overcome tragedy. Thanks Jessica.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for posting this, Miriam. Such a stunning tribute in the wake of a horrible tragedy. I have a cousin who lives in Melbourne and I believe this is the fire she told us about and which I saw on the news when it happened. That tree is fabulous, and the bench is unlike anything I’ve seen. Wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m just catching up on blog reading and found this gem of yours. Thanks so much for sharing this piece of history and memorial. What a wonderful tree and love the bench too. Something else to add to my Victoria “to visit” list 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow Miriam — that’s an amazing creation. I’ve not heard of it, but then again, there are many things in our great land that I’m yet to discover. Thanks for adding to my list. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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