34299ALP's Tree of Knowledge officially dead
- Oct 2, 2006ALP's Tree of Knowledge officially dead http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/ALPs-Tree-of-Knowledge-officially-dead/2006/10/03/1159641296695.html
October 3, 2006 - 9:29AM
Australia's iconic Tree of Knowledge is dead - but could become a permanent monument to the Labor party.
The historic ghost gum has been officially declared dead by a tree doctor.
The 200-year-old tree, at Barcaldine in western Queensland, was poisoned earlier this year with a substance similar to Roundup.
Local ALP branch president Pat Ogden said a tree doctor had officially "signed the death certificate" and the town had accepted its death, "just like a person dies".
Although no exact date can be given for the founding of the Australian Labor Party, party mythology says the first Labor branch was founded at a meeting of striking pastoral workers under the tree in 1891.
Mr Ogden said he would hate to see the tree uprooted and hopes the council will instead trim it back and construct a permanent monument to the party.
"In April we noticed leaves falling off it ... and after about two weeks it was just like bloody confetti coming off it," Mr Ogden said.
"(Now) there's no leaves on it and the limbs are up there in the air just like a ghost."
Mr Ogden said the death had attracted an influx of tourists wanting a glimpse of the icon before time ran out.
"It's an icon of the town, it's an icon of Australia really for the workers," he said.
"It's just like Sydney losing the Sydney Harbour Bridge."
© 2006 AAP
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