A few weeks back Sam and I visited the big Sequoias – planted near Railway Dam, at the heart of the Belair National Park,  in about 1895.

The Park was our boyhood realm of long ago – the family kingdom – and every square inch of it is therefore familiar.

We were not so much visiting, as returning….

The Sequoias are massive trees, of breath-taking height. Their topmost canopies seem to brush the heavens, and the spiralling branches invite further exploration. They remind me of the fabled Mallorn Trees of Lothlorien, at the top of which the elven-folk built their secret pathways and aerial homes.

For some years I have been keeping a weather-eye out for Mallorn seeds, in the hope of establishing a grove of  silvery and golden saplings next to the Boatshed.

It is, as the saying goes,  a work in progress.

As for the Sequoias: they tower above the ancient bushland all around. They seem ancient, but they are not;  they seem to belong – but after all, their true homeland is far away, on the western sea-board of California.

I have an idea that each twig, each leaf retains a subtle recollection of its original home: its inheritance – and the knowledge, or knowing, is somehow passed on from one generation of leaves to the next. It must surely  be so, even if the recollection lies beyond our ken….

high-up branches
on the lookout
for ancestors


15 thoughts on “SEQUOIA”

  1. I remember the Belair trees from 1969/70. Striking their seed next to the boatshed would be an achievement. Eventually a landmark when returning up the gulf in your Northumberland Coble, looking for home.

    1. Greetings Steve. I like that vision. I will take it as a good omen….and a glimpse of what might be possible!

  2. Beautiful. . .it was a courageous choice, to move up there in those days — not easy to get to the city, four boys under 7 — but it turned out to be an inspired choice, because of the Park, and the relative ease of movement across it. Not a bad place to grow up next to. . .

  3. Not knowing where these are at Belair I must seek them out. You lucky boys living so close to that park. I have visited the California Sequoias -tall and vast like giant creatures of the soil – and so can spot them easily. So I noticed two in a place I often visit in the UK, a northern village named Caldbeck, near Keswick in the the Lakes. These grand trees guard a Victorian style cemetery gate leading into a classic picture book churchyard where John Peel is sleeping. Their canopies talk and sigh together way above everything around them.

    My childhood amongst Adelaide Plains redgums of Hazelwood Park had me believing they were ours and the wild creek (now tamed) was ours too. We were all so lucky …

    1. Thankyou Lucy. Lovely memories and observations. Strange, this impulse to ‘tame’ wild things and landscapes. Much is lost, for us all. Miraculously, there are still ancient woodlands at Belair,and the biggest red gums must be hundreds of years old. They will be the subject of a future ‘commentary’….

  4. Dear Christopher, this is a beautiful Say of the Sequoias, especially of memory , recollection, in twig and leaf.
    This is such a gift. Thankyou.. I know that part of the forest and have walked with much bending back to see , and then just around and around like the famous creature in Winnie T P book. And being full of marvelling. That they have come so far and settled.
    Our home is clad on the upper storey in the sequoia wood. It was taken in the later part of the C19, and milled into interlocking sections, then travelled away over the seas.
    As before , your telling of being in the forest , very beautiful . I will forever now think of trees brushing the heavens.
    Thankyou again Dear Christopher,
    With love from Janet

    1. Thankyou Janet. These incredible trees must have many stories woven about them, including yours of walking around and around! It is no wonder – they are, after all, wonderful.

      I did not know about the sequoia cladding – you are in effect living inside the old forest.

      Sam and I will next be visiting the nearby red gums, on the river flats below Railway Dam. They are truly ancient; you will recognize them in the photos.

  5. Aeons of memory held in those trees, recalling memories from the living dreams of our childhood landscapes. Thankyou for reawakening, Chris.

    For my brother and I, they were the old forests of Tantanula, the cathedral avenues of eucalypts into Penola, the arching, calls and lifting of brolga wings in the wetlands of Edenhope, eternal ancient echoes in the Naracoorte Caves.

    Sequoias and caucasians, both new arrivals to this ancient land, yet by being here, and listening, belonging.

    1. Thankyou Jim. Those are powerful memories….special trees. They take root in heart and mind and spirit – and continue to send out fresh shoots!

      1. Your Sequoias stand majestically, as you recall them, Chris. Sentinels to guide you home as Steve inscribed. Wonderful.

        Decay and renewal now seem to play between memory and imagination – swamp gums silhouetting brolgas dancing in a draining Bull Lagoon, an ordered matrix of pine plantations near Naracoorte harvested across the ground above ancient labyrinths of Caves, birds wheeling with animals shrieking from clearing cables between two tractors, rumbling through the Coorong mulga, piles of dead trees, mulga and scrub smouldering for months, then the Aurora Australia spectre rising to hover above our southern Cypress hedge – all re-membered through your reflection.

        1. Thanks Jim. A mixed bag of recollections, certainly. I remember well the clearing cables….

          Whoever planted those Sequoias, however out of place they might seem, had a great dream and vision.

  6. Thank you for sharing this wonderful reflection on the Sequoias. You and your brothers had a special childhood indeed. (We had our acre or so of ‘bush’ to explore in Wattle Park, but nothing like the Belair National Park…)

    1. Wattle Park: with many beautiful trees. And for the child (and the child at heart) even one tree can evoke a sense of wilderness!

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