The Forrest of Giants
A Tall Tale
WE ARE HERE
Anyone else wanted their very own adult full size tree house?! Yeah!? Us too! Well guess what, we found one! Actually, we found three! Being from Victoria ourselves, it’s hard to imagine anything like this being totally free, completely accessible for the public, and utterly mindblowingly dangerous if anything went wrong! But over here in WA, their motto is ‘your safety is our concern, but your responsibility’.
So what could be so hazardous? A big kid tree house of course! These tree houses are actually fire lookout trees, located in the south of the state around the Pemberton region. Built mainly during the 1930s and 1940s, these trees were used as fire fighting tools for preventing disasters. Staff would scale the trees by climbing the spiralling staircase of pegs that were secured into the tree trunk. Long and lonely shifts would be spent atop the trees looking for any sign of smoke. By 1952 there were 8 fire lookout trees constructed. These days there are three remaining tree towers which are open for climbing.
First up on our list was the Bicentennial Tree.
Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree
location: Warren National Park
height: 75 metres (165 pegs)
Easing our way into the challenge, we hit up the tallest tree. We’d driven past the tree the previous day, and at the sight of this giant (that we were intending to climb) all we could do was laugh at the absurdity and terror. We watched a few others scale the mighty tree, and our turn had come. With Michaels mild dislike for heights, we decided we just had to go for it and not hesitate. Up we crept, one hand, and one foot, at a time. Tight grip and steely concentration. We reached the half way mark and rest platform. Here the sign read “that was the easy bit!” We were determined, so up and up we went. Finally, the top arrived! Whoa. You can see for miles, high above all the other trees. How on earth was this freely available with no safety harnesses or nets!? More importantly, how would we get down from here with our shaky legs?! But we did, and on we drove towards the next big giant.
Second was the Gloucester Tree
location: Gloucester National Park
height: 61 metres (153 pegs)
We were now well practiced and figured this would be a breeze. Michael was the old hand at the Gloucester, having climbed it when he was 15 (only a few years ago), while Cass was the newbie. This giant had no half way platform so it was bottom to top in one go. Micky went first, at a steady pace concentrating on the task. Cassie followed behind and when reaching the top platform found a slightly shaken Micky who had, quite respectably, reached his quota on heights for the day. The views were again incredible as we towered over all the other trees, watching ring necked parrots feeding on the flowers in the top branches that surrounded us.
Last on the list was the Diamond Tree
location: Southwest Hwy between Manjimup & Pemberton
height: 51 metres (130 pegs)
Michael had nothing left to prove, having climbed the two tallest trees, and exceeding his daily heartbeat count. Cass has gotta see everything though, so putting on a brave face without her climbing partner in crime, up she went. The sun was getting low in the sky casting a golden spell across the land. Simply gorgeous. At the top of the Diamond Tree you will notice the tippy top is closed off as it actually still functions as a fire lookout tree during the fire season.
And so we survived to tell this tall tale, just like all that have climbed before. Amazingly not a single fatality has been recorded, although a couple of heart attacks have occurred soon after!
Our next blog will be from: D'entrecasteaux National Park
Until our next update - see you on / off the road 😉
Cassie and Micky