If you’ve ever walked up Mt Stirling, its very hard to miss the ‘Stirling tree’ – a lone snow gum that stands towards the south peak of the mountain and is visible from the four wheel drive track that passes over the summit.
I often sit by the tree and never fail to be amazed by how many 4WD’s drive over the mountain, without the occupants ever stopping, let alone walking around. The views from Mt Stirling are superb, sitting in a huge ring of mountains that stretch from Mt Skene around to Howitt, all the way across to Buffalo Plateau. The tree draws your gaze and is a popular spot for many walkers as they wander around the summit area.
Now the tree has been nominated for the national register of significant trees.
The following comes from the Victorian National Parks Association.
It’s a solitary, ancient Snow Gum growing in a grassy meadow 1725 metres above sea level near the summit of Mt Stirling. It’s become an iconic symbol of the mountain and is much loved by visitors.
The lone Eucalyptus pauciflora sits well above the ‘treeline’, although at the edges of its grassy meadow lie old Snow Gums, all stunted, many dead at the hands of a harsh climate and bushfires.
Nobody knows how old the tree is, but we can get some idea from a branch that broke off after the 2006/7 bushfires. This branch, about 40 centimetres in circumference at the break point, was dated at 485 years old. The circumference at the base of the tree is more than 3 metres.
This singular tree draws all who visit Mt Stirling – bushwalkers, cross-country skiers, horse riders and photographers. It’s become a shared treasure.
In winter the tree can be completely buried in snow. When this happens, the only tell-tale sign of its presence is a gently rising snowy mound. And yet, each summer, the tree thrives and often flowers.
To celebrate the tree Friends of Mount Stirling were invited by the National Trusts of Australia to nominate it for inclusion in the Register of Significant Trees.
As part of the nomination the Friends group measured the Mt Stirling Summit Tree, and made a video of their efforts (this is available here).
The nomination has been submitted, it’s time to sit and await feedback.