Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Home and Away

The picture shows me standing next to a boab tree (Adansonia gregorii) near Derby, WA, in the dry season of 1968. I was in the army at the time, and the Survey Unit of which I was a member was in the Kimberley of Western Australia doing some basic control work for 250,000 mapping of the area. We were camped on the Derby airstrip. The day this was taken was probably our day off, and we were visiting various highlights of the district, this being the only one I can remember. The tree was hollow inside and had been used at some points in its life as a gaol. Since I am less than 2 metres tall, I would estimate the diameter of the tree at more than 4 metres, or about 12 -14 feet. It wasn't a particularly lively tree-the leaf cover wasn't much-but the tree was very old. Some researchers propose the boab, which came from Africa, was brought to Australia in the migration out of Africa more than 70,000 years ago, and can't see an accidental landing of seeds from the sea. See http://www.uq.edu.au/nuq/jack/Boab Origins.html for some discussion on the matter, particularly the relationship between the boab and Bradshaw style Aboriginal paintings. As for me, I no longer look like that, and probably in shape look more like the tree.

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