"The past is never fully gone. It is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays to shape what we are and what we do."
Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia, Inaugural Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, August 1996.

The Spiral Grained Pencil Pine

Euan Ferguson

Written in 2016

Editors Note: This article by Euan Ferguson is, in Euans' words, "completely fictional. I wrote it one tired night whilst doing the Overland Track in Tasmania. During that day we'd seen a number of dead and fallen pencil pines that seemed to have an anti-clockwise spiral texture on the sapwood. The group asked me what caused this spiraling. I have no idea what causes it, so I made up this story.

Whilst a fictional story, it nevertheless contains some interesting and challenging messages for readers, natural resource managers, politicians and the wider community as follows:-

  • as Euan has written, ... "Our duty for caring for our forests extends beyond the years to generations .... the life of the forest is measured in generations, not just in years.", and
  • Old growth trees are a valuable and important part of our native forest ecosystems, but they eventually die hopefully with another generation of younger trees following, some of which will become old growth trees.