What is it?

A blaze tree that was associated with ACT border marker H87. Local historian Matthew Higgins framed the idea to preserve such a tree for future generations. It has been harvested and helicoptered to the Namadgi Visitors Centre for preservation and eventual display. The Mouat Tree project was launched on Thursday afternoon 25 June by Minister Mick Gentleman.

Here’s it’s original location:

And this is what it looked like in situ:

If you’re into blaze trees, there are photos of all I’ve found here.


Learn all the good oil about The Moaut Tree at it’s own website at http://themouattree.org.au/ . Heaps of photos, videos and reports.

ABC TV Report by Craig Allen

Craig Allen put together a great report on The Mouat Tree, shown on the ABC Canberra 7pm news on Sunday 21 June 2015. Here it is cut from iview:

spinning reel video

Here’s a great video by spinning reel:

Tim the Yowie Man

TYM will cover the project in his Canberra Times Panorama article on Saturday 27 June.

And to cap it off …

A Poem by Bush Balladeer Mike Lavis

Surveyors of the Border
The colonies chose to federate, but where should the capital be?
Not Melbourne town or Sydney, no, good water was the key.
A daring man was set the task to find the best location,
Charles Scrivener the Surveyor was the man for the occasion.

So off he went to search the bush for a satisfactory site,
Tumut, Yass, Dalgety too, just didn’t seem quite right.
But finally they sorted it, and then…“The winner is….”,
Canberry on the Limestone Plains! The fireworks popped and fizzed!

The survey crews went at it hard, no time for indecision,
A topo map was needed for a planning competition,
And Burley Griffin won the prize, although he was a Yank,
The judges ruled his plans excelled, the rest he did out-rank.

The next job on a big long list was mark the boundaries true,
And separate from NSW, that State from which we grew.
Hard yards through bush and scrub they toiled, Sheaffe, Johnston, Harry Mouat,
The world went slowly drifting on, and didn’t even know it!

But fame was not the final goal for these determined blokes,
The task was vast, but these tough men weren’t ordinary folks.
I guess it may have crossed their minds that what they did would stand
As a monument to a job well done, today we understand.

Sheaffe started clockwise from Coree in June of 1910,
Past One Tree, Old Joe, Poppet Hill, the railway line and then
He crossed the Murrumbidgee, the upstream end this time,
Climbed up onto the Clear Range, headed south, the views sublime.

Now Scrivener neared retirement, so said “Perc, come have a blow”,
“Thank God”, Perc must have stated, “Cripes, I thought he’d never go!”
So Johnston then took Perc’s place, he didn’t do things by half,
His Model T Ford was not much use, but locals had a laugh.

Now Fred was a West Australian, and used to hotter climes,
I wonder what he thought of frost and snow and windy times.
Just put your head down mate, and go, no slacking off will do,
He plugged away with gritted teeth, “It’s only a month or two….”

Young Kiwi Harry “Happy” Mouat’s brief was pretty tough,
“Head south from Coree, lad, don’t fret, the country’s not that rough!”
Well those of us who’ve worked there since might tend to disagree,
The Brindabellas are beaut but wild, as anyone can see!

Well eighteen months went rolling by, with Harry slogging hard,
Past Franklin, Gingera, Bimberi, gains measured by the yard,
Then Scabby Range, Mt Kelly, where he nearly lost a man,
But each day showed how far they’d come, t’was going all to plan.

So now the two men realised that soon they’d have to meet
Along the southern watershed, to finish would be sweet!
Harry surveyed past tall Sentry Box, Fred left Wright’s Hill behind,
And soon the project was complete, the ACT defined.

Oh celebrations wild are held, the bush camp rocks and reels,
The achievement was impressive, time to kick up all their heels.
The cook was asked to prepare a treat, maybe kill the fatted beast?
Half oranges filled with jelly, wow, those boys knew how to feast!

The local cockies scratched their heads. “Last night confounded me!
I went to sleep in NSW, woke up in ACT!
Not freehold title, boys, that’s gone, an old thing of the past,
Its leasehold now, well bugger me, I hope it doesn’t last!”

With weary tread but heads held high they left the bush behind,
And reported back to town once more to face the daily grind
Of marking roads and pegging blocks, these tasks they could not flee,
Framework for the nation’s capital laid out for all to see.

Today we look upon our town with pride and satisfaction,
And reflect on those whose vision bold gave progress lots of traction.
We praise the old surveyors, brought the bush into some order,
For I doubt that we’re as tough today, as those who marked the border.

© Mike Lavis
Registered Surveyor
Canberra ACT