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CCLXXVII. E. nova-anglica Deane and Maiden.

In Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xxiv, 616 (1899), with a plate.

THE description is given at Part XXI, p. 9, of the present work, and need not be repeated. It is figured at figs. 3–4, Plate 90, and as these are adequate no further illustrations are given.

Synonyms.

E. cinerea F.v.M., var. nova anglica Maiden, in Part XXI, p. 9, of the present work. I am of opinion that it is worthy of specific rank.

Range.

It appears to be confined to New England, New South Wales, and the extension of that elevated tableland into Southern Queensland.

For a number of localities, with notes, see this work Part XXI, p. 10. The following are additions (New South Wales):—

Belltrees, near Scone (L. A. Macqueen).

“Peppermint,” coarse fibrous bark. Uralla (Dr. J. B. Cleland). Armidale, not rare, especially on Uralla-road (J.H.M.).

Bark rough, fibrous to scaly, with clean tips of branches. Trees varying in size. Very common all over the district, more especially on the flats at the foot of the Peak, Chandler's Peak, near Guyra (J. L. Boorman).

Bald Knob, 16 miles on the Glen Innes-Grafton road. (H. T. Paton.)

“Tree of 20–30 feet, fairly common. Much branched and pendulous in habit, the bark fibrous and somewhat flaky, branches of a dirty white to reddish. Usually on flats, with moisture and good soil. Timber comparatively useless; used for firing when dry, but it rarely grows of sufficient size to be milled.” Wallangarra (J. L. Boorman).




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Affinity.

1. With E. cinerea F.v.M.

But E. nova-anglica has—

  • (a) Flowers in more than threes;
  • (b) Mature leaves always lanceolate, i.e., it never flowers in the broad-leaved stage;
  • (c) The peduncles are usually not in pairs in the axils as in the normal form (and in var. multiflora).

E. cinerea has a reddish timber, of very little value, and a reddish fibrous, friable bark, whilst E. nova-anglica has a paler-coloured timber and a more flaky bark.

The seedlings of the two species are much alike.




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The Growing Tree.

A.—Rate of Growth.

Following are some references to the scanty Australian literature on the subject:—

“Age of Australian (Tasmanian) Trees.” J. E. Tenison-Woods, in Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., xii, 21 (1878).

“Rate of Growth of Trees” (“The Eucalypts of Gippsland”), Howitt, in Trans. Roy. Soc. Vict., ii, 111 (1890).

“Notes on the Rate of Growth of some Australian Trees.” H. C. Russell, in Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., xxv, 168 (1891). The observations were taken at Lake George, and at the Sydney Observatory.

“Rate of Growth of Native and Other Trees.” In the Presidential Address of Henry Deane, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xx, 633–636 (1895), will be found some valuable information on the subject.

See also a paper, “Rate of growth of Indigenous Forest-trees,” compiled by me from the reports of Foresters, in the Agric. Gaz. N.S.W., August, 1893, which contains much useful information, some of which I have abstracted below.

Bull., No. 8, Department of Forestry, New South Wales (April, 1914), is a leaflet entitled “Rate of Growth of Indigenous Commercial Trees,” but they are taken in groups, “Coastal Hardwoods” and “Inland Hardwoods,” and the species are referred to only by vernaculars.

Reference may also be made to the article in my “Forest Flora of New South Wales,” Part 68, which gives some data in regard to the growth of various species in non-Australian countries.

In giving numbers of years of growth of a tree, much depends on the dates in order that we may ascertain the meteorological conditions. As a rule authors omit the dates, and hence we are dealing with indefinite growing entities, which we cannot check. For example, the rate of growth of a tree between the years 1890 and 1900 may be very different to the growth between the years 1895 and 1905, or 1900 and 1910.

With reference to the following brief papers of Rev. J. E. Tenison-Woods and Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Howitt, admirable observers, which tend to show that large trees have probably not the great ages attributed to them by bush people and others, it is interesting to note that expert foresters have, during the last few years, in Europe and elsewhere, thrown doubt on the ages of many trees deemed by tradition, more or less authentic, to be “historic.” It has been pointed out in some cases that trees in a forest die from natural causes or accident, and are succeeded by seedlings of their


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own kind which absorb the traditions of a line of ancestors, perhaps remote. We are familiar with statements as to the tree of Robin Hood, and other persons more or less mythical, and even historic; as to “the oldest tree in the world” (attributed to a certain specimen of Dracaena Draco in Teneriffe), and so on.

“It is a very interesting inquiry to know how old are the stately trees which people these (Southern Tasmania, J.H.M.) forests. Judging from their size, one would be inclined to attribute to them great antiquity. I was very anxious to collect data on the subject; but to nearly all my inquiries I only received mere guesses; from 200 to 300 years was the general reply. I found, however, in Mr. Hill a source of information at once reliable and valuable. Mr. R. Hill is the proprietor of an extensive sawmill at Honeywood, on the Huon; he is also a ship-builder and hop-grower. It is from him that I have derived the most of the statistical information in the paper, and the facts which did not come under my personal observation; and I take this opportunity of thanking him for his readiness in affording every aid to inquiry, and express the hope that the colony may long profit by his intelligence, industry and enterprise. Mr. Hill assured me that some of the Gum trees, and perhaps all of them, shed their bark twice in the year. The Stringybark (E. obliqua) is one of the most striking instances of this. He further informed me that, hearing a lecture from Mr. Bicheno on the growth of trees, and the statement that a ring of wood was added to the diameter each year of growth, he was induced to test the truth of this. There was a Blue Gum (E. globulus, J.H.M.) in his garden in Hobart Town, the age of which he was sure of, as his brother had planted it eighteen years previously. He felled it and counted the rings, and found them to be thirty-six in number, or two for every year. From this, and from the shedding of the bark as described, and a long series of observations, he concludes that the sap rises twice in the year. He has for many years watched the growth of the trees, and he believes that for the first twenty years the average growth is about 1 inch in diameter for each year. Out of thousands of trees felled, or cut in his mill, he has not found one over 75 years old, and a very large proportion of the serviceable timber is composed of trees about 50 years of age. Quite recently he has had a very interesting opportunity of verifying these observations. At Ladies' Bay (between Port Esperance and Southport), a paddock on the farm of Mr. D. Rafton was cleared for the purposes of cultivation. It was exactly sixteen years this summer (1877–78) since a crop was taken off it, and was quite overgrown with saplings, which were all cut down. Mr. Hill, at my request, wrote to Mr. Rafton, requesting him to examine the stumps, and I append his reply:—`Ladies' Bay, 26th April, 1878. According to your request I send you the result of my examination of the stumps of young saplings in the paddock which we are now clearing. Number of rings in the longest saplings, thirty-three; size across the heart-wood where the rings cease, 1 inch. The rings, I observe, are not an equal distance from each other, some of them being three times the size of the others. On making inquiries I find beyond a doubt that it is exactly sixteen years this summer since the last crop was taken off the paddock. Yours truly, D. Rafton.' From these facts I think we may safely adopt Mr. Hill's conclusion that there are two rings of growth for each year, and that the tallest trees of the forest, the giant timber of Tasmania, range from 50 to 75 years old.” (Tenison-Woods, loc. cit.)

Now we come to Howitt, who is speaking of Gippsland:—

The age of the new forest does not, however, depend merely on the general observation that they have sprung up since the settlement of the country in 1840.

I have been enabled to make some direct observations, which show the size of certain trees of known age, and which will serve as comparison for the general growth of the forests.

In 1864 the discovery of auriferous quartz reefs in the Crooked River district, caused a township, which is now called Grant, to be formed on the summit of the mountains, near the source of the Good Luck Creek. In part of the Government reserve, upon which the Warden's quarters and police camp stood, and which was cleared of timber, a few young E. amygdalina (E. radiata is meant, J.H.M.) trees grew, and were permitted to remain. One of these was lately kindly measured for me by Mr. W. H. Morgan, M.M.B., who found it to be 56 feet high and 10 feet in girth three feet above the ground. This tree is an example of very many others of the same species now growing on the surrounding ranges. At Omeo, in the Government reserve, a number of young E. viminalis are now 60 feet high, which in 1863 were only small saplings under 5 feet in height. On the road from Sale to Port Albert, which was formed somewhere about


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1858–59, there are numerous places where E. viminalis and E. Muelleriana and other species are now growing upon the ditches formed at the sides of the road. Those, for instance, at Lillies Leaf are on the average about 30 feet high.

These instances show how the occupation of Gippsland by the white man has absolutely caused an increased growth of the Eucalyptus forests in places. I venture, indeed, to say with a feeling of certainty produced by long observation, that, taking Gippsland as a whole, from the Great Dividing Range to the sea, and from the boundary of Westernport to that of New South Wales, that, in spite of the clearings which have been made by selectors and others, and in spite of the destruction of Eucalypts by other means (to which I am about to refer), the forests are now more widely extended and more dense than they were when Angus M'Millan first descended from the Omeo plateau into the low country.” (Howitt, loc. cit.)

Following are some notes on the rate of growth of individual species of trees, arranged in alphabetical order. The notes are so few that the new Forest Controllers of the various States have practically to begin records for themselves. All these are New South Wales records, unless otherwise indicated:—

E. cladocalyx F.v.M.—A tree at Balwyn, near Melbourne, in eleven years and two months attained a height of 53 feet, with a circumference at ground of 43½ inches, at 6 feet, 41 inches. F. Chapman, A.L.S., in Vict. Nat., 7th November, 1918, p. 106.

E. diversicolor F.v.M.—A.B., of Torbay Junction, writes the following concerning rate of growth of trees in Western Australia, in the Western Mail of 26th September, 1913:—

Re age of Karri trees, I note your remark that to find the age of Karri trees you count the number of rings from the centre to the bark. This method is not correct for the majority of native trees of Australia. Many years ago in Gippsland a deal of discussion took place on this subject. The theory that is held by botanists was believed until it was proved by actual fact to be incorrect. I have seen myself White Gum saplings grown in five years—from where a sawmill was in actual work—cut down, and the rings counted from twelve to sixteen in each sapling. (These observations confirm those of Tenison-Woods, already cited. J.H.M.). These saplings grew up in the trolly track the benchmen were walking in five years before, and were from 4 to 8 inches each in diameter. Numerous others found similar cases. Mr. Chris. Mudd, F.L.S., a botanist, visited Gippsland district some little time after. On the fallacy being pointed out to him, he then expressed the opinion that the rings indicated growths, and not years. It is evident this is so, and also that different species of trees have a different number of growths in the year, some only one and some as many as three. The climate also, in the botanists opinion, made the difference. That Karri trees in this district make more than one ring in a year—while they are saplings at least—I am certain, having tested it. The exact number they do make would, however, take a bit of careful investigation, which could perhaps be best found out by some older settler who knew of a tree planted, say thirty or forty years ago.

E. globulus Labill.—

Two trees were planted at the same time on the south side of the Observatory Reserve, in trenched and manured ground. The larger of these trees, that at the south-west corner of the ground, measures 3 ft. 10 in. round 3 feet above the ground. The other one near the cottage measures 3 ft. 5½ in.; they were small pot plants when put in and would now be 16 years old. They do not seem to be growing vigorously, perhaps this is not to be wondered at as the roots cannot penetrate the solid sandstone which is close to the surface where they grow.

The tree in Observatory Park is now 16 years old and is 3 ft. 10 in. round, 3 feet above the ground, or 6½ inches less than the tree at Lake George, which is a year younger. The trees on Mount Victoria measured about 63 inches round after fifty years' growth, and the measures on the Lake George tree (believed to be E. viminalis) seem to justify us in assuming that it enlarged uniformly year after year. Therefore, at fifteen years, the Observatory Park Sydney) tree measured 43 inches. (Russell, loc. cit.)




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E. maculata Hook.—Trees with height 60 feet, diameter 24 inches, acquired this in twenty years, and others with height 40 feet acquired a diameter of 10 inches in ten years. They grow on the south coast of New South Wales (Forester J. S. Allan). A spotted Gum in the Shoalhaven district, New South Wales, in an old saw-pit not used for seventeen years, was then 2 feet in diameter by 25 feet to first limb, and 45 feet high; good soil, side of hill. (Forester G. R. Brown).

In Annual Report of the Forestry Commission (up to 30th June, 1919), p. 27, is a note on experiments in coppicing E. maculata and E. pilularis for about two and a half years near Wyong, New South Wales.

E. paniculata Sm.—A tree aged 10 years acquired a height of 40 feet, diameter 10 inches. South Coast (Forester J. S. Allan).

E. pilularis Sm.—A self-sown seedling was measured at Gosford in 1889, on the land which was cleared for a nursery site. In eighteen months it had attained a height of 25 feet, and a circumference of 18 inches. (John McCoig.) In ten years, on the South Coast, a tree acquired a height of 40 feet, diameter 10 inches (Forester J. S. Allan). At Cogo, Wilson's River, in the old vineyard (twenty-five years neglected), are now growing Blackbutts, average 18 inches in diameter, 25 feet to first branch, and 50 feet high. (Forester G. R. Brown, 1895.) A Blackbutt sapling seventeen years ago 12 inches in diameter and 30 feet high, is now (1895) 2 feet 9 inches in diameter, and 40 feet to first limb, 70 feet high. (Forester G. R. Brown, Port Macquarie.)

In January, 1885, I measured certain Blackbutt saplings in the parish of Clybucca, county of Dudley. These saplings were then about 5 years old, and taped about 12 inches girth by a height of 10 feet from the measurements then taken. I find that the same saplings now (1895) average 36 inches girth and a height of 40 feet. (Forester McDonald, Kempsey.)

In Annual Report, Forestry Commission (up to 30th June, 1919), p. 27, is a note on the regrowth in three years of two species (E. propinqua and E. saligna), on land burnt over in the Wyong district, New South Wales.

E. radiata Sieb. (under E. amygdalina Labill). See Mueller's “Eucalyptographia.”

E. rostrata Schlecht.—

In suitable localities I estimate that the Murray River Red Gum attains a height of about 50 to 60 feet in ten years, after which it does not grow so rapidly. It will attain a diameter of about 12 inches in twelve years, then I estimate it increases at the rate of about ¾ inch in a year until it gets to about 24 to 26 inches in diameter. (Inspecting Forester Manton, 1895.)

E. saligna Sm.—

About nine years ago land was cleared at Hogan's Brush, near Gosford. After the clearing, a Blue Gum came up and was suffered to remain. Now it is 50 feet in height, and circumference of 3 feet 6 inches at 4 feet from ground. Measured October, 1895. (Forester John Martin.)

A Blue Gum five years ago was 3 inches in diameter and 15 feet high. It is now (1895) 12 inches in diameter by 15 feet to first limb, and 35 feet high; red second-class soil, in the open. (Forester G. R. Brown, Port Macquarie.)




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E. viminalis Labill.—

The young tree that I selected in January, 1885, was one of a cluster of four, close to the jetty (Lake George) on which the lake gauge is placed, and it was found to measure 23 inches round, 3 feet from the ground; it was measured again on the 10th November, 1891, and found to be at 3 feet from the ground 52¼ inches round, almost exactly 17 inches in diameter, that is, an increase from 7 to 17 inches in diameter in six years and eight months, a rate of increase which, if maintained for five years more, would make it a large tree upwards of 2 feet in diameter and only 20 years old.

As to the age of the tree measured at Lake George, it was growing about 4½ or 5 feet within the high-water mark of the great flood of 1874, within which all the trees were killed, the residents when appealed to, said the four trees could not be more than seven or eight years old, which agrees with probabilities as to their age, for they would not spring up until a year or two after the water retired, and it did not leave the spot they grew on until 1875, ten years before I was there. Taking then eight years as their probable age in February, 1885, they would now be almost 15 years old, and the tree measured is now 4 feet 4¼ inches round, 3 feet above the ground. Therefore at fifteen years the Lake George tree measured 52¼ inches. The probable age at this measure was fourteen years eight and a half months; if allowance for three and a half months is made to bring the age up to fifteen full years, it would measure 53¾ inches round; on 22nd November, 1892, girth 54¼ inches; 1st January, 1894, girth 60¼ inches; January, 1895, girth 63¼ inches. (Russell, loc. cit.)

Following is a report on some Victorian viminalis trees:—

Seed sown January, 1912; seedling planted out August, 1912. In December, 1916, this became 25 feet high, and 9 inches in diameter. First sign of flower-buds November, 1915. Flowers annually in November; shed its bark for first time in December, 1916. In full bloom 25th January, 1917. (P. R. H. St. John, in Vict. Nat., February, 1917, p. 155.)

B.—Natural Afforestation.

Following is a valuable contribution to the question of the influence of settlement on Eucalyptus Forests, by the late Dr. A. W. Howitt:—

The influence of settlement upon the Eucalyptus forests has not been confined to the settlements upon lands devoted now to agriculture or pasturage, or by the earlier occupation by a mining population. It dates from the very day when the first hardy pioneers drove their flocks and herds down the mountains from New South Wales into the rich pastures of Gippsland.

Before this time the graminivorous marsupials had been so few in comparative number that they could not materially affect the annual crop of grass which covered the country, and which was more or less burnt off by the aborigines, either accidentally or intentionally, when travelling, or for the purpose of hunting game.

Annual Bush Fires.—These annual bush fires tended to keep the forests open, and to prevent the open country from being overgrown, for they not only consumed much of the standing or fallen timber, but in a great measure destroyed the seedlings which had sprung up since former conflagrations. The influence of these bush fires acted, however, in another direction, namely, as a check upon insect life, destroying, among others, those insects which prey upon the Eucalypts.

Granted these premises, it is easy to conclude that any cause which would lessen the force of the annual bush fires would very materially alter the balance of nature, and thus produce new and unexpected results.

The increasing number of sheep and cattle in Gippsland, and the extended settlement of the district, lessened the annual crop of grass, and it was to the interest of the settlers to lessen and keep within bounds bush fires which might otherwise be very destructive to their improvements.




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The results were twofold. Young seedlings had now a chance of life, and a severe check was removed from insect pests. The consequence of these and other co-operating causes may be traced throughout the district, and a few instances will illustrate my meaning.

The valley of the Snowy River, when the early settlers came down from the Maneroo (Monaro) to occupy it, as, for instance, from Willis downwards to Mountain Creek, was very open and free from forests. At Turnback and the Black Mountain, the mountains on the western side of the river were, in many parts clothed with grass, and with but a few large scattered trees of E. hemiphloia.

Forests increased.—The immediate valley was a series of grassy alluvial flats, through which the river meandered. After some years of occupation, whole tracts of country became covered with forests of young saplings of E. hemiphloia, pauciflora (coriacea), viminalis, amygdalina (radiata), and stellulata, and at the present time these have so much increased, and grown so much, that it is difficult to ride over parts which one can see by the few scattered old giants were at one time open grassy country.

Within the last twenty-five years many parts of the Tambo Valley, from Ensay up to Tongio, have likewise become overgrown by a young forest, principally of E. hemiphloia and macrorrhyncha, which extend up the mountains on either side of the valley. This dates especially from the time when the country was fenced into large sheep paddocks, when it became very important that bush fires should be prevented as a source of danger to the fences, and even when fire occurred the shortness of the pasturage checked the spread.

Similar observations may be made in the Omeo district, namely, that young forests of various kinds of Eucalypts are growing where a quarter of a century ago the hills were open and park-like. In the mountains, from Mount Wellington to Castle Hill, in which the sources of the Avon River take rise, the increase of the Eucalyptus forests has been very marked. Since the settlement of the country, ranges, which were then only covered by an open forest, are now grown up with saplings of E. obliqua, E. Sieberiana and others, as well as dense growths of Acacia discolor, A. verniciflua, and other arborescent shrubs. These mountains were, as a whole, according to accounts given me by surviving aborigines, much more open than they are now.

In the upper valley of the Moroka River, which takes its rise at Mount Wellington, I have noticed that the forests are encroaching very greatly upon such open plains as occur in the valley. I observed one range, upon which stood scattered gigantic trees of E. Sieberiana, now all dead, while a forest of young trees of the same species, all of the same approximate age, which may probably be twelve years, growing so densely that it would not be easy to force a passage through on horseback. Again, at the Caledonia River, as at the Moroka, the ranges are in many parts quite overgrown with forests not more than twenty years old. The valleys of the Wellington and Macalister Rivers also afford most instructive examples of the manner in which the Eucalyptus forests have increased in the mountains of Gippsland since the country was settled. The forest in these valleys, below 2,000 feet above sea level, is principally composed of Eucalyptus polyanthemos, E. macrorrhyncha, with occasional examples of E. melliodora and E. Stuartiana; while E. viminalis occupies the river banks and moist flats. I noticed here that E. melliodora and E. macrorrhyncha formed dense forests of young trees, apparently not more than 25 years old. In some places, moreover, one could see that the original forest had been composed, on the lower undulating hills and higher flats, of a few very large E. melliodora, with scattered trees of E. polyanthemos and E. macrorrhyncha. At the present time the two latter have taken possession, almost to the exclusion of E. melliodora. In other places E. polyanthemos or E. macrorrhyncha predominate; but, on the whole, I think the latter will ultimately triumph over its rivals, unless the hand of man again intervenes.

Such observations may also be made in Western and Southern Gippsland, but, of course, with reference to different species of Eucalypts.

In the great forest of South Gippsland many places can be seen where there are substantially only two existing generations of trees; one of a few very large old trees, the others of very numerous trees which are probably not older than thirty to forty years, and in most cases certainly not half that period. The older trees of this second growth do not, I suspect, date further back than the memorable “Black Thursday” (6th February, 1851.—J.H.M.), when tremendous fires raged over this tract of country. It may also be inferred, from the constant discoveries, during the process of clearing, of blackfellows' stone tomahawks, that much of this country now covered by a dense scrub of gum saplings, Pomaderris apetala Aster argyrophylla, and other arborescent shrubs, was at that time mainly an open forest.




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I might go on giving many more instances of this growth of the Eucalyptus forests within the last quarter of a century, but those I have given will serve to show how widespread this re-foresting of the country has been since the time when the white man appeared in Gippsland, and dispossessed the aboriginal occupiers, or to whom we owe more than is generally surmised for having unintentionally prepared it, by their annual burnings, for our occupation. (A. H. Howitt in Trans. Roy. Soc. Vict., ii, 109, 1890.)

The following is based on what I wrote in the Agric. Gazette, N.S.W., vol. vi, 593 (1895), and also issue for April, 1905:—

The Spontaneous Growth of Trees.—Natural regeneration or re-afforestation is proceeding often without our knowledge, and even in spite of ourselves—quietly, surely.

I was informed here (Failford) and also on the A. A. Company's Estate (Gloucester) that formerly the hills were often destitute of timber where now there is dense forest. The reason of this change is attributed to the over-stocking of the country, the stock eating down the grass so that bush fires (which formerly consumed the seedlings of forest trees) are now less frequent, and devastate smaller areas than they used to do. … Mr. Forester Rudder expresses the opinion that cattle directly aid the propagation of trees by trampling the seeds into the ground.

In Australia and Tasmania the following experience is not uncommon. When sheep are folded the manure becomes quite thick. In a few years, if the sheep be removed, Eucalypts come up freely. This occurs in places in which they were not previously found. It seems to me that this points to the sheep licking up the seed with their feed and redepositing it in manure. Vigorous growth would take place in fertilised soil. Perhaps this matter of natural afforestation (not re-afforestation, as it takes place in areas not previously known to carry trees) may be entirely explained by herbivora grazing in forest land and depositing their dung on non-forest land. The obvious reason why this afforestation does not take place more abundantly, is because sheep and cattle readily eat down young seedlings, which must therefore be protected accidentally or otherwise in order that they may reach maturity.

See also the extract from Dr. Howitt's paper just quoted.

This natural spread of forests should be comfort to those who are apt only to consider the destructive action of the timber-getter, and to lose sight of the compensating influences that are at work.

The springing up of young forest growths where there was formerly forest is, of course, common enough. We do not know how long many seeds will remain dormant in or on the ground after the old growth has been removed. It is not an uncommon thing to see a straight avenue of trees not artificially planted. One fine avenue known to me is along the line of an old chock and log fence, and consists of She-Oaks (Casuarina)note. Oak saplings were used as top-rails for this fence, the seed from the saplings germinated, and the young growth was protected from stock by the fence. The seedlings grew into fine trees, and finally the old fence was removed, leaving only the line of trees which followed the direction of the fence. I have seen a similar occurrence with the Grey Box (Eucalyptus hemiphloia) in the Bringelly, N.S.W., district.

C.—Increment Curves.

There would appear to have only been published, as regards botanically identified trees, data concerning very few species.

Determination of Increment by Stem Analysis.—The scientific forester requires more than the empirical data of rate of growth to which I have already referred. He requires a proper record of growth or increment ascertained by scientific methods.


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The Forestry Commission of New South Wales has issued, August, 1918 (the researches were made in 1916), Bulletin No. 13, under the above title, compiled from data supplied by W. A. W. de Beuzeville, Forest Assessor, of which a brief abstract is sufficient for the present purpose.

The determination of the rate of growth of trees and forests is of fundamental importance to the forester, because, without accurate knowledge of this subject, he is unable to fix the annual yield of the forest at that quantity which will ensure that the forest be not over-cut and the forest capital exhausted. The large number of forests throughout the State, which have been operated upon to such an extent that supplies of milling timber are now no longer available, is sufficient evidence of the disastrous result of over-cutting, and the necessity of ascertaining rates of growth and regulating the annual cut accordingly.

Rate of growth may be ascertained either by systematic measurement of standing trees in all stages of growth over a considerable number of years, or by making what is known as stem analyses of felled trees. Stem analysis can be applied only to those species the timber of which shows well-defined annual rings of growth, and for this reason, unfortunately, is inapplicable to the great majority of Australian species. Where possible, however, the method should be used, as it enables the forester to obtain valuable data upon which to regulate cutting operations while waiting for the more accurate information secured from the direct measurement of growing trees.

It should be remembered, however, that the rates of growth ascertained by stem analysis of trees in virgin forests do not necessarily represent the rates which will be obtained in the future under careful forest management. The forest trees from which the selection must be made have attained to maturity only after a long struggle against the competition of their rivals, and without the aid of the forester, who by well-regulated thinnings, can do much to accelerate the rate of growth. Consequently the figures obtained from stem analysis should be regarded rather as the safe minimum to be expected in the future.

For the purpose of obtaining authentic information relative to the growth of species of Eucalyptus on the southern tableland, Mr. Forest Assessor W. A. W. de Beuzeville made stem analysis of the Buddong Mountain Ash (E. gigantea Hook).

The figures and conclusions arrived at for the Mountain Ash are given in full in the Bulletin, as it is reported to be the fastest growing species in New South Wales.

The specimen selected for investigation was a typical forest tree, well grown and carrying a heavy crown occupying little more than half the total height of the tree. It was felled at ground level, and the main stem marked off into nine pieces, each of which was cut through the centre. The concentric rings on each section were counted, and the diameters measured, the information being then tabulated, and the calculations made on the assumption that the concentric rings were annual.note (The method followed is that described in Chapter VI of vol. iii of Schlich's “Manual of Forestry,” to which readers are referred.)

Details of the Analysis.

                   
Section 1 taken at the foot of the tree showed 97 rings. 
Section 2 taken 5 feet above ground level showed 97 rings. 
Section 3 taken 15 feet above ground level showed 95 rings. 
Section 4 taken 25 feet above ground level showed 93 rings. 
Section 5 taken 35 feet above ground level showed 91 rings. 
Section 6 taken 45 feet above ground level showed 88 rings. 
Section 7 taken 55 feet above ground level showed 85 rings. 
Section 8 taken 65 feet above ground level showed 79 rings. 
Section 9 taken 105 feet above ground level showed 53 rings. 
Top, 35 feet long; total height, 140 feet; age, 97 years. 




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Thus, at 35 feet from the ground there were only 91 annual rings as against 97 at the base. This means that the part of the tree above 35 feet had been in existence only ninety-one years, so that it took 97–91 = 6 years, for the tree to reach a height of 35 feet. Thus the following table is prepared.—

                     
Height of section in feet.  Number of rings.  Number of years taken to reach height of section. 
97  … 
97  … 
15  95 
25  93 
35  91 
45  88 
55  85  12 
65  79  18 
95  53  44 
140  97 

From this table a curve showing height at different ages is plotted (see Fig. 1, not reproduced, J.H.M.). The very rapid height growth in the first twelve years should be noted as it has an important economic bearing on the regeneration of the forests. A species capable of such rapid growth in early youth is not likely to be suppressed by weeds, and consequently expenditure on early cleanings will probably not be necessary. Compare the figures for E. globulus, in Tasmania, quoted at p. 245.

A further abstract of Mr. de Beuzeville's researches is found in “The Australian Forestry Journal,” for January, 1918.

`The forest of E. gigantea at Buddong appears to be of comparatively recent origin, and is rapidly establishing itself in the surrounding forest of Eucalyptus coriacea and E. rubida. A noteworthy feature is that trees evidently well past maturity are sound to the heart and absolutely free from disease.

The specimen selected for analysis was a typical tree of a typical forest of the species. The annual rings were clearly defined through the whole of the cross sections, and varied very little in width. The tree was well grown, with a good crown, and apparently still vigorous.

A remarkable circumstance was the rapid height growth during the early life of the tree, and this is shown in a series of graphs which accompany the treatise, and disclose the following.—

Growth in height.—2½ years, 20 feet; 6 years, 40 feet; 14 years, 60 feet; 20 years, 68 feet; 40 years, 90 feet; 60 years, 110 feet; 80 years, 126 feet; 96 years, 140 feet.

Growth in diameter.—2 years, 1 inch; 6 years, 2½ inches; 14 years, 6 inches; 20 years, 9 inches; 40 years, 18 inches; 60 years, 28 inches; 80 years, 36 years; 96 years, 42 inches.

Volume of wood.—20 years, 20 cubic feet; 40 years, 75 cubic feet; 60 years, 180 cubic feet; 80 years, 300 cubic feet; 96 years, feet 420 cubic feet.

Calculation on the results of an examination of the area of the cross section at various ages shows that the tree reaches absolute maturity about the ninetieth year, when it will yield almost 5,000 superficial feet of timber.

Mr. de Beuzeville states that the bark amounts to 12 per cent. of the volume of the stem, the very low percentage being accounted for by the thin nature of the bark on the upper portion of the trunk. In conclusion, he remarks that his analysis discloses that “the tree does not reach absolute maturity at the early age often attributed to it, but maintains a vigorous growth long after it has reached the dimensions of a millable log. The present minimum felling girth is 7 feet over bark, and is apparently reached in forty to fifty years. The problem is, therefore, whether if will be most advantageous to operate on the species as at present, or whether the cutting age should be deferred until maturity, when greater volume has been attained.”




  ― 253 ―

Then we come to a paper: “Determination of the Increment of Trees by Stem Analysis. No. 1. Eucalyptus viminalis,” by W. A. W. de Beuzeville, Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., liii, 239 (1919). (N.B.—The species is really E. Dalrympleana Maiden, as described by me in “Forest Flora of New South Wales,” Part LXIV, p. 137. It was formerly confused with E. viminalis.)

The calculations show that the tree increases in height rapidly until about thirty years old, averaging 2·8 feet per annum. This rate gradually diminishes, dropping to 1·6 feet mean annual increase when sixty-six years old. The diameter increase, likewise, is greater during youth, but is fairly evenly maintained during the whole period, ranging from ·37 inches to ·3 inches per annum. The mean annual volume increment, which was ·1 cubic feet at ten years, showing a steady improvement, reaching 1·13 cubic feet at sixty-six years of age.

Earlier in point of publication than the preceding papers, we have “Timber Production and Growth Curves in the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans),” by R. T. Patton, Proc. Roy. Soc. Vict., xxx (N.S.), i (1917).

It is not convenient to reproduce the graphs of the papers of either Mr. Patton or Mr. de Beuzeville. All the papers should be carefully read, and I will content myself with a few extracts of Mr. Patton's paper also.

It has been said that Mountain Ash will mature in forty years, and will give in this time a butt of from 2 feet to 2 feet 6 inches. It has also been claimed for Mountain Ash that it is the fastest-growing tree in the world, and that it will give a cut of 150,000 feet super. per acre. In order to test the truth of these statements a series of measurements was carried out at Powelltown on logs of this timber.

It was found impossible at the time to get any reliable figures as to either its fast growing rate or its quantity of timber per acre. Many factors militated against this. In the first place, all the forest now being cut is over ripe, and consequently many trees are hollow. Again, a very large number of trees have incipient decay in the heart. Other factors also prevented any accurate estimate being formed. However, there was ample material for a study of the annual rings. It was impossible to obtain measurements from all logs coming in, as in quite a percentage there was either a pipe, or decay had proceeded far enough to destroy the boundaries of the first annual rings. Only those logs then were taken in on which the annual rings were clearly defined. The measurements were taken to the eightieth ring, and not continued further owing to the difficulty in many cases of distinguishing the rings. In one case the rings, though narrow, were easily distinguishable to the 125th ring. It was obvious from these later rings that the tree had lacked vigour. This was borne out by a study of the trees in the standing forest. The paucity of foliage on these big trees is very noticeable, as was also the amount of mistletoe. No mistletoe was observed on the saplings, or even on trees half grown. From these observations one was led to conclude that the tree reaches its prime well under a hundred years.

The most remarkable feature is the rapid expansion of the trunk (and hence width of annual ring), during the first ten years of growth. …

The differences between the width of the annual rings as the tree gets older will be less and less. There is a point of interest here, and that is that the enormous decrease in the width of the ring may be due to overcrowding, or putting it in other words, that, as the trees grow older, and so many are striving for the same light and carbon dioxide, the crown is not as large as it would be if the forest were controlled. It was very apparent from a study of the mature trees that width of ring is largely dependent on the distance of the trees apart, for in many logs the original centre is well to one side of the mature log. Some trees have limbs on the congested side only 6 to 8 feet long, while on the free side they are 15 to 20 feet long. The maintenance of a good head is important from a forestral point of view. …

From the study of the annual rings, then, we may conclude at present that the Mountain Ash reaches its maturity between the fortieth and fiftieth years; but we are not entitled to conclude that the tree is then fit for milling. In view of the fact that in the future a large proportion of this timber will probably find its way on to the market in a dressed and seasoned condition, the tree cannot be said to be fit for


  ― 254 ―
milling until the wood is ripe. It may well be, that so long as the tree maintains a good head, the timber is improving in quality, and therefore it may be inadvisable to cut it during this period. There are other factors as well to be considered with regard to the time of harvesting the timber. The upkeep of this forest is small at present, as compared with that of the forests of the old world. Hence interest charges will be much smaller, and we could therefore allow the forest to stand for a much longer period than is the case with old world forests.

See also “On the Growth, Treatment, and Structure of some Common Hardwoods,” by R. T. Patton, Proc. Roy. Soc. Vict., xxi (New ser.), 394 (1919), with one plate and seven text figures.

The author systematises his observations under the following heads:—Height, density of trees per acre, seasoning of timber, structure. He criticises the adoption of the Schlich method of measurement of diameter growth (at all events, as regards Australian conditions) if only because, in our “empirical” or managed forests, it is difficult to select an average tree for research.

The question of the height of E. regnans (Victorian Mountain Ash), the only Eucalypt referred to, is dealt with at p. 255 of the present work. The question of density of trees per acre is only now being undertaken, since we have only quite recently established forestry departments taking cognisance of our Eucalypts on scientific lines.

As regards seasoning of timber, I will give a few references to this, and also to structure of timber, when I deal with those branches of the subject.

Now let us turn to a paper, “Estimation of the Rate of Growth of Trees by Stem Analysis,” by C. E. Lane Poole, “Jarrah,” i, No. 3, p. 14, November, 1918.

The author begins:—

“It is an unfortunate fact that the bulk of Australian eucalypts do not lend themselves to this system of estimation. There are exceptions, of which Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus Delegatensis) of New South Wales is one, but in most cases Eucalypts do not appear to have any distinct period of rest during the year, with the result that there are no well-defined rings. Karri (E. diversicolor) in its very early years (up to about twenty-four), shows annual rings, but after that time it is difficult to distinguish them.”

He then gives an admirable account of the method, choosing the Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata or insignis), a Californian species much cultivated in Australia, for purposes of illustration.

D.—The Largest Australian Trees.

The size of a tree may be measured in vertical height or girth, the two dimensions usually adopted. The fairest method would, of course, be to compute the cubic contents. As regards girth, it is to be regretted that many measurements are not strictly comparable, because of the varying heights above ground at which they have been taken.

It has been known for many years that Australia and Tasmania possess very large trees, attention having been directed earliest to those of Tasmania. It has since been proved, I think, that the largest trees (E. regnans) occur in Gippsland, Victoria,


  ― 255 ―
although those of the Western Australian Karri (E. diversicolor) are very large. Most of the literature has gathered around the Gippsland trees, and will be found quoted below by Mr. Hardy and myself.

A discussion on the height of Gippsland trees (Mr. Howitt's paper, in Trans. Roy. Soc. Vict., ii (1890), in which Baron von Mueller and Mr. A. W. Howitt joined, will be found in Journ. Roy. Soc. Vict., iii (new series), 124 (1890). Mr. Howitt had measured a tree of 350 feet, and Mueller stated that trees 400 feet high had existed. The discussion is well worth referring to.

In my “Forest Flora of New South Wales,” Vol. II, pp. 161–165 (1905), I gave such evidence as was available to me in regard to “The giant trees of Australia.” I wrote at p. 163 in the following words:—

Professor Sargent is an eminent authority on the subject of which he treats, and in view of the actual measurements that he presents, viz., 340 feet in height for a Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), and a girth round the trunk of 107 feet for its congener, the “Big Tree” (S. Wellingtonia), I am of opinion that, so far as our knowledge goes at present, California is the home both of the tallest and of the broadest trees in the world.

In the Federal Handbook published for the visit of the British Association in 1914, I wrote:—

The official size of the tallest Gippsland tree is given as—height, 326 ft. 1 in.; girth, 25 ft. 7 in., measured 6 feet from the ground; locality, spur of Mount Baw Baw, 91 miles from Melbourne. This is enormous, but different from the alleged heights of from 400 to 525 feet foisted on Mueller, and which will probably not be eradicated from the newspapers for another generation.

As regards the Californian trees brought into comparison … the difference (under 14 feet) against the Gippsland tree is not large, and it would not be surprising if additional investigations should cause this friendly competition between Australia and the United States to end differently.

Presently I will show that New Zealand is in this competition.

“A short account of the big trees of California,” Bull. No. 28, United States Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry (1900), gives a later account than that of C. S. Sargent.

In the “summary of facts” it is stated that “the dimensions of the Big Tree are unequalled.” A number of dimensions of trees, living and dead, are quoted, but comparatively few with full particulars. Thus the height is given of many, the diameter at the ground of some, and at 6 feet above the ground of others. Many particulars are given in regard to them in the Bulletin, which is not easy of brief abstraction.

For particulars as to tall trees of Brazil, see Bates' “Naturalist on the Amazons” (Murray's Pop. Ed., 1910, pp. 29, 30).

In a paper “On the Ascent of Water in Trees” (Phil. Trans. B., Vol. 199, 1905) Professor A. J. Ewart (of the University of Melbourne), has some remarks in regard to the reputed heights of the Gippsland trees, after referring to certain reputed measurements which have been repeated over again by authors copying one another, as “greatly exaggerated” and “considerably exaggerated,” he concludes, “The tallest Australian tree, therefore, hitherto accurately measured, barely exceeds 300 feet, and it is possible that some of the records from other countries, notably America, may suffer a similar diminution when accurately tested.”




  ― 256 ―

Mr. R. T. Patton (Proc. Roy. Soc. Vict., xxxi, 396, 1919) has some notes on the height of E. regnans. He gives 326 feet as the “greatest height recorded,” and the two highest measurements as made by himself as 249 and 261 feet.

In Trans. N.Z. Inst., xlvi, p. 9 (published 1914), is a paper by T. F. Cheeseman on. “The Age and Growth of the Kauri (Agathis australis),” in which he refers to the sizes of other large trees. He says: “Seeing that the age and size of large forest trees have been regularly overestimated in other countries, it could hardly be expected that New Zealand would escape similar exaggeration.” He has just been quoting Professor A. J. Ewart's cautious remarks on Gippsland trees at some length.

Incidentally, it may be mentioned that in the American “Journal of Forestry,” xvii, 890 (November, 1919), there is a note on Kauris and Californian Big Trees as follows:—

The New Zealand Department of Lands has published a small book by D. E. Hutchins on the `Waipoua Kauri Forest,” in which occurs the statement.—“There were two gigantic Kauri in the Tutamoe State Forest, each having a diameter of 22 feet, and the best one having a clean bole of 100 feet. This was estimated to contain 295,788 board feet, which is twice the size of the largest California big tree, one of the Calaveras Grove, containing 141,000 board feet.”

The commentator says:—“It is strange that at the present day the claims of California for large sized trees should be contested by New Zealand. The following data show that even though New Zealand has some immense trees, as those just described appear to be, still they cannot equal the giant Sequoias, of which we are justly proud.

“A Sequoia tree cut in 1854, called `The Mother of the Forest,' had a diameter of 30 feet and a height of 321 feet, and contained 537,000 board feet, which is twice that given for these famous Kauri trees of New Zealand. In addition, this tree was 137 feet to the first limb. Another tree, called `The Father of the Forest,' measured a number of years ago 36 feet in diameter, 400 feet in height, and 200 feet to the first limb.” (These seem round numbers. J.H.M.)

Mr. D. E. Hutchins, “A Discussion of Australian Forestry,” pp. 315–17 (1916), says:—

I am sure that every patriotic Australian will agree that an attempt should be made by the Forest Departments in Victoria and Western Australia to find out the actually biggest trees, measure them, and place them under special protection.

I quite agree with this, and he is unconsciously repeating a very old suggestion of mine, but Mr. Hutchins says: “(Mr. Maiden) perhaps goes to the other extreme, and throws doubt on quite good evidence.” If my readers will take the trouble to turn to what I have said, and also to what Mr. Hutchins has said, they can judge for themselves. If I have tried to avoid anything, it is to be “extreme,” and my article was an honest attempt to weigh the evidence on scientific (i.e., truthful) lines. The genial forester, when he has opportunity to consult the literature of the subject, will see that I am by no means the severest critic of reputed measurements of big Australian and American trees. [I wrote the above some years ago, before our friend had received the well-deserved honour of Knighthood, to be followed, alas too soon, by his death in January, 1920.]




  ― 257 ―

The most recent writer on the subject is A. D. Hardy, of the State Forest Department of Victoria (“The Tall Trees of Australia,” Vict. Nat., xxxv, 46, July, 1918), an authority whose researches in regard to Australian forestry matters are always valuable, and, therefore, one reads what he has to say with interest in regard to a subject which has already been surrounded by much romance. This romance, emanating from Australia itself, has found its way into scientific publications in Europe and America.

The paper contains some most useful information in regard to the giant trees of America, and, indeed, of other countries, but what is of special interest to me at the present time is the information he has brought together, additional to that already compiled by myself. At p. 50 Mr. Hardy quotes three measurements which exceed those enumerated in the Victorian atlas of giant trees. The following is the “best measurement by a legally qualified measurer.” Mr. G. Cornthwaite measured a tree in 1880, 2 miles from Thorpdale, Gippsland. “I cannot find the old notes taken at the time, but I am quite sure as to the measurement of the length.” He gives the height at 375 feet, allowing for the stump. “At about 12 feet from the ground (it) was about 6 feet in diameter.”

Although these figures are to some extent based on memory, if they satisfy Mr. Hardy they go a long way towards satisfying me.

Mr. Hardy quotes some American Sequoias, larger than the Redwood (S. sempervirens) measured by Professor C. S. Sargent, at 340 feet. Doubtless after the war (written in 1918, J.H.M.) the Americans will examine their records of measurements and state whether they can beat our record of 375 feet or not.

As regards bulk, Mr. Hardy quotes the tree pictured as “King Edward VII” by Mr. Hugh Mackay, Conservator of Forests of Victoria, in the handbook of that State prepared for the British Association meeting of 1914. It had a girth of 80 feet, measured at about 10 feet from the ground.

I have often pointed out (e.g., Presidential Address, Royal Society of N.S.W., 1897), that it is desirable that we should have measurements by surveyors or other competent observers of the heights and girths of definite Eucalyptus trees, and the ascertainment of such data should be the business of the forestry staffs of all the States. We ought to know the sizes of our primeval vegetation, even if these biggest trees, when removed by fire or other catastrophe, may never be succeeded by others which can be permitted to attain equal magnitude.

Instead of going further into details in regard to the sizes of the largest trees, it may be convenient to consult the following list of species, arranged in alphabetical order, in which the sizes are dealt with. Thus the following may be referred to in their proper places in the present work, and in my “Forest Flora of New South Wales”:—

Eucalyptus Andrewsi Maiden, E. botryoides Sm. (H. Hopkins records E. botryoides in the rich alluvial flats of the Snowy River, stately trees of 150 feet or more in height, and boles of 6 or 7 feet in diameter, and 50 or 60 feet to the first limb), E. Dalrympleana


  ― 258 ―
Maiden, E. Deanei Maiden (Mr. A. Murphy informs me that there are plenty of trees in the Ourimbah district, near Gosford, 10 to 12 feet in diameter), E. Dunnii Maiden (see note below), E. diversicolor F.v.M. (see this work, Part XX, p. 298), E. gigantea Hook. f. (see note below), E. Jacksoni Maiden, E. goniocalyx F.v.M., E. maculata Hook., E. microcorys F.v.M., E. nitens Maiden, E. pilularis Sm. (see this work, Part L, p. 30), E. regnans F.v.M., E. viminalis Labill.

Under E. viminalis, Mueller (“Eucalyptographia”) quotes a Victorian tree up to 320 feet, with a diameter of 17 feet.

Baker and Smith (“Research on the Eucalypts,” p. 137) say this tree is “probably the largest of New South Wales Eucalypts.” “This is perhaps the most widely-distributed species of the genus in these States, as well as probably the tallest, as trees measuring over 300 feet high frequently occur.” (p. 138.)

In view of the fact that E. Dalrympleana has been “carved out” of E. viminalis, and of further investigations in regard to our White Gums, it is desirable that E. viminalis and its allies should be remeasured. E. viminalis, sensu strictu, is, however, undoubtedly a big tree.

E. Dunnii.—

“I measured one standing tree of the above, which gave a girth of 24 feet 4 inches, with a length of at least 30 feet; this works out 13,322½ feet—superficial. The tree in question is fairly round and straight, and apparently sound. A few days later, “To-day I measured another tree. It was felled for sawmill purposes. It was perfectly sound, straight and round. This tree was cut into four logs 11 feet in length (each log), the butt log measured 13 feet in circumference and contained 4,500 super. feet. Royalty at 6d. (£1 2s. 6d.).” (William Dunn, Forest Guard, Acacia Creek, Macpherson Range, near Queensland border, September, 1905.)

E. gigantea.—I submit an interesting note based on observations made in Tasmania in the thirties, and which I submitted to Mr. Rodway, the Government Botanist of that State, who reports: “In the Richmond district there is much E. obliqua and E. gigantea. I have never seen the former of such gigantic proportions as cited, wherefore think reference was to latter. At the time this article was written, all the forms with rough bark were referred to obliqua, and those with smooth to amygdalina.”

Following is the note:—

“Mr. Backhouse and my son, Dr. Joseph Hooker, have made MSS. remarks upon a great number of new species in Van Dieman's Land, and it is there that the trees are seen to attain the most gigantic size. Near Richmond, in Yorkshire, the former gentleman visited a place in the forest remarkable for an assemblage of gigantic “stringybarks,” Eucalyptus obliqua? There, within a space of half a mile, he measured ten different trees from 30 to 55 feet in circumference at four feet from the ground; and some of these fine sound trees were upwards of 200 feet high. One prostrate tree was 35 feet in circumference at the base, 22 feet at 66 feet up, 19 feet at 110 feet up. There were two large branches at 120 feet, and the elevation of the tree, traceable by the branches on the ground, was 213 feet. `We ascended this tree on an inclined plane formed by one of its limbs, and walked four abreast with ease upon its trunk! In its fall it had overturned another 168 feet high, which had brought up with its roots a ball of earth 20 feet across. It was so much imbedded in the earth that I could not get a string round it to measure its girth. On our return I measured two stringybarks, near the houses on the Hampshire Hills, that had been felled for splitting into rails, each 180 feet long. Near to them is a tree that has been felled, which is so large


  ― 259 ―
that it could not be cut into lengths for splitting, and a shed has been erected against it, the tree serving for the back.” Another tree, at Emu Bay, supposed to be 250 feet high, was 55½ feet round at 5 feet from the ground, and nearly 70 feet in circumference at the surface of the ground. “My companions spoke to each other, when at the opposite side of this tree to myself, and their voices sounded so distant that I concluded they had inadvertently left me, to see some other object, and immediately called to them. They in answer, remarked the distant sound of my voice, and enquired if I were behind the tree.” (Bot. Mag., vol. 69, t. 4036, 1843.)

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