Marnie Hughes Warrington at home among the gum trees

Macquarie University has chopped down 100 plus 40-year lemon-scented gums (CMM Feb 20) but ANU is embracing timber, explained by Marnie Hughes Warrington in the new instalment of her remarkable chronicle of constructing a new campus and creating a culture connecting the university to its Indigenous heritage and environment.

“Every Burin—Red Stringybark (Eucalyptus macrorhyncha)—on our campus suggests stories of shelters, rope, fire and shields; and the Nummerak—Hickory Wattle (Acacia implexa)—offers flour, medicine and the means to catch fish,” she writes.

And then there are the practical benefits, wood makes for environmentally solid construction and produces better environments. And the good it does is goes beyond the physical. “People prefer to work and study near wood, and that it has a positive impact on productivity and stress levels. The appeal is multi-sensory: people want to look at, to touch and to smell wood.”

But CMM suspects what is being goes beyond this – that to belong in our own landscape requires us to see our trees as not less than European imports. Where better for this to happen than the Australian national university.



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