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D6483 Timber specimen, White Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus oreades R T B), marked by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth, Australia, 1813. Click to enlarge.

White mountain ash timber specimen

Made in Pulpit Hill, New South Wales, 1813.
In March 1901 the Technology Museum, as the Powerhouse Museum was then known, ordered three specimens of the Mountain Ash tree Eucalyptus regnans from a dealer in the Blue Mountains. In 1935 they were transferred to the New South Wales Forestry Department but the Museum kept a section of one of the logs which bore some roughly cut markings on the trunk. These are thought to have been made by Gregory Blaxland, William Wentworth, and Lieutenant Lawson when they crossed the Blue Mountains for the first time.

At some stage the following inscription was painted on the timber sample "Part of the tree marked by Blaxland - Lawson - Wentworth - being the furthest distance recorded in their first attempt to cross the Blue Mountains. A.D. 1813."

The Blue Mountains had formed a seemingly impenetrable barrier to the economic expansion of the colony. Blaxland's discovery of a way over the mountains enabled the settlement to expand the highly profitable sheep industry in the open country on the other side of the range. While there is no record of the group making these particular marks, in Blaxland's journal he refers to the explorers marking their whole route across the mountains "by cutting the bark of trees on two sides."

There is ongoing controversy about the origins of the markings on the 'Explorers Tree' at Katoomba and without concrete evidence arguments may also be mounted about the origins of these markings. It should also be noted that the hard wood of the Mountain Ash would have made it a good choice for making tree markings of the nature described by Blaxland.

References
THE JOURNAL OF GREGORY BLAXLAND, 1813 incorporating... A JOURNAL OF A TOUR OF DISCOVERY ACROSS THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, NEW SOUTH WALES, IN THE YEAR 1813 by Gregory Blaxland, A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook, eBook No.:0200411. Text first posted June 2002, produced by: Colin Choat. The eBook was checked against a copy of the second edition of that book, which was published in 1870 by Sydney Gibbs, SHALLARD and Co.

Geoff Barker, March, 2007

Summary

Object No.

D6483

Object Statement

Timber specimen, White Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus oreades R T B), marked by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth, Australia, 1813

Physical Description

Timber specimen, White Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus oreades R T B), marked by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth, Australia, 1813

Timber specimen of White Mountain Ash with a smooth, front side and a coarse, uneven back. The specimen is roughly shaped with a flat base; tall, vertical sides and a broken, arch-like top. It is mounted on a rectangular wooden base with two short blocks of wood for reinforcement at the back. The specimen and mount is dark brown in colour.

Marks

Handwritten in white ink on the left front hand side of the specimen is 'Part of the tree / marked by BLAXLAND- / LAWSON- WENTWORTH- / being the farthest distance / reached in their first attempt / to cross the Blue Mountains / A.D. 1813.'. To the right of this is 'WHITE MOUNTAIN ASH / Eucalyptus oreades. R.T.B. / (Myrtaceae) / Katoomba. N.S.W.'.

Dimensions

Height

1100 mm

Width

600 mm

Depth

240 mm

Production

Notes

This timber specimen was collected from Pulpit Hill in the Blue Mountains.

History

Notes

The tree from which this specimen belongs comes from Pulpit Hill in the Blue Mountains. The tree is claimed to have been marked by Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson in 1813.

Source

Credit Line

Collected by Mr Connelly, 1901

Acquisition Date

25 March 1901

Cite this Object

Harvard

White mountain ash timber specimen 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 11 August 2020, <https://ma.as/224034>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/224034 |title=White mountain ash timber specimen |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=11 August 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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