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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin

    Tree of knowledge receiving world-class the treatment

    Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin

    Tuesday, December 04, 2007

    Tree of knowledge receiving world-class the treatment

    A diffusion process being used for the first time in Australia and possibly the world is preserving the Tree of Knowledge for future generations of Australians.

    Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries Tim Mulherin said to protect the tree from insect attack, Boron, an insecticide that also provides protection from fungal attack, was being diffused in a water solution into the wood of the Tree of Knowledge.

    “This is the first time in Australia this technique has been applied to a tree trunk, especially of this size. The treatment is likely to continue for several more months before the tree is ready to be returned to its resting place at Barcaldine,’’ Mr Mulherin said.

    “Using Boron has several advantages, including that it is .a clear treatment where as others would generally leave the timber green.

    “DPI&F is the most qualified timber research organisation in Australia to carry out the preservation.

    “We have extensive experience in tropical wood protection and world class facilities.

    “DPI&F is using their internationally recognised expertise to preserve it for the future with the tree taken to a custom-designed facility in August this year to undergo its treatment.

    “The process offers significant challenges, including its size - 7 m high, up to 2 m in diameter. Every branch and twig is also been carefully preserved.

    The preservation project is being led by DPI&F senior principle scientist Jack Norton.
    Jack has 30 years of experience in wood preservation and is deputy president of the International Research Group on Wood Protection.

    “The Tree of Knowledge is an Australian icon as the site of the first meeting to found the political movement that was to become the Australian Labor Party,’’ Mr Mulherin said.

    “Yet the 160-year-old ghost gum has a place in history that transcends political lines.

    “The party’s pioneers - disgruntled rural workers, first met under its boughs to plan their campaign for better pay and shorter working hours.

    “Their push for reform resulted in the Great Shearers Strike of 1891, a battle they eventually lost to the government-backed pastoralists, but which shaped the political future of the country.’’

    “It is crucial that the symbol of the tree be maintained, following the deliberate poison attack on the tree.

    “DPI&F has had a close involvement with the Tree of Knowledge for over 15 years.

    “In 1990, DPI&F scientists were called upon to make sure the tree was in full health in time for the centenary celebration.

    “The following year, DPI&F were asked to try and strike cuttings from the tree so that there would be a replacement tree of the same parentage when the original tree eventually died.

    “Scientists were successful, and to mark the 114th anniversary of the ALP, the offspring was returned to Barcaldine on May 2, 2005.

    “The planting of the new tree and the preservation of the old is making sure an important page of history is secure for future generations. ‘’

    Media:
    Minister’s office 32396530
    DPI&F Wade Milne 3896 9778: