*Pic: A black border for the dead … named El Grande by the Wilderness Society

El Grande before the burn-off. Two people stood at the base to show the tree’s size …


In 2003 El Grande, possibly the largest living object on the planet, was destroyed by Forestry Tasmania as a result of an escaped regeneration burn.

Forestry Tasmania – with Thuggo Lennon as Minister for Forests – ran the Tasmanian logging world as its personal fiefdom. As a result no mention can be traced of this ecological disaster, a matter of world interest, in the columns of either the Examiner or the Mercury – such was their power to control the Tasmanian news cycle.

Some seven months later news of the disaster finally leaked out when the death of the giant Tasmanian tree made the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and finally the BBC in London. Interestingly was still not a squeak from the The Examiner or the Mercury.

With this triumph over the news cycle behind them Lennon and Gay were emboldened to go for a Pulp Mill.

Their mistake came from the Internet which resulted in a new player which could use the service to hold them to account – Tasmanian Times had been born.

I suggest that within 20 years of the death of El Grande those who saw fit to ignore this major news story, namely the Examiner and the Mercury, will also be no more.

They, like El Grande, will have vanished in a puff of smoke. People power through the Internet will regain its sway over our unqualified pollies who will do anything, and say anything, to keep a snout in the trough and who have infected our public Institutions.

El Grande will finally claim victory over the newsprint that caused her death.

The world’s loss will not have been in vain.

• El Grande …

El Grande (tree)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
El Grande was a massive Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus regnans) in Tasmania
and Australia’s largest tree. It was located on a ridge in the upper
Derwent valley, adjacent to the World Heritage Area of the Florentine
Valley, approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Hobart. The tree
stood 79 metres (259 ft) in height, had a girth of 19 metres (62 ft),
and a volume of 439 cubic metres. While it was not the tallest tree in
Australia, it was considered to be the largest in terms of volume,[1]
and the world’s biggest-stemmed flowering plant.[2]

Approximately 350 years old,[3] it was burned in April 2003, and
died in December 2003, as the result of catching fire in a burn-off of
the debris remaining after the clear-felling of old-growth forest in the
tree’s immediate vicinity.[4][5] Australian forestry officials admitted
responsibility for killing the tree.[1] Its hollow trunk acted like a
furnace so that it was cooked from the inside.[6]

The death of the tree, which had already been used as a symbol in the
Wilderness Society’s campaign against logging, brought national and
international media attention. The destruction of El Grande became a
symbol for the destruction of Tasmanian forests.[7] Scrutiny intensified
the use of Tasmania’s forests for wood chip exportation, and the
processes involved.[8]

In the later half of 2003, Forestry Tasmania decided to remove
individual names from the state’s giant trees, but later relented.[9]
Other giant trees in the area of El Grande which are also protected by
Forestry Tasmania’s Giant Trees Policy, have since been named Centurion,
which was discovered in 2008, and Triarius.[10] Trees in the
vicinity that had been named previously by the Wilderness Society
include the Chapel tree and Gandalf’s Staff.[11]

• What Forestry Tasmania says about the burning of El Grande …

http://www.forestrytas.com.au/uploads/File/pdf/forestry_matters_el_grande.pdf Biggest Tree Killed –

Andrew Darby in The Age … Australia’s largest tree is dead, killed by its Tasmanian Government custodians in a mistake likened to the Louvre destroying the Mona Lisa. In autumn El Grande, a massive Eucalyptus regnans, was engulfed in a regeneration burn after clear-felling of old growth forest. The state timber agency, Forestry Tasmania, which supervised the fire, held out hope that El Grande might respond in spring. Yesterday it said the tree had died …

*John Hawkins was born and educated in England. He has lived in Tasmania for 13 years. He is the author of “Australian Silver 1800–1900” and “Thomas Cole and Victorian Clockmaking” and “The Hawkins Zoomorphic Collection” as well as “The Al Tajir Collection of Silver and Gold” and nearly 100 articles on the Australian Decorative Arts. He is a Past President and Life Member of The Australian Art & Antique Dealers Association. John has lived in Australia for 50 years and is 75 this year. In two of the world’s longest endurance marathons and in the only teams to ever complete these two events, he drove his four-in-hand team from Melbourne to Sydney in 1985 and from Sydney to Brisbane in 1988.

YESTERDAY on Tasmanian Times …

‘Two Year reprieve for Threatened Forests’

• Mark Temby in Comments: #6, one of the puzzling things about our fine timbers exported for national and international demand was how Tasmania had more wood chips than all the other states for such a sustained period. As annual exports grew beyond $5 million tonnes Bacon and Lennon stopped access to the statistics. FOI laws were deliberately difficult as FT was a GBE and no longer the Forestry Commission. One year some clever Dickens went through the Ports Authority and gained the record figure around 6 million tonnes. Lennon quickly closed yet another loophole. I like Tasmanian fine furniture – particularly those chipboard cupboards that last about two years before they get dumped at the tip. Seriously, #6, don’t just type rhetorical nonsense for something to do with your mornings …

• John Hawkins in Comments: Libby Lester – in her thesis with references – notes the power of Tasmanian politicians over the Tasmanian press …

• Robert Middleton, USA, in comments: … The cover-up by FT and the media of the killing of El Grande was an evil, sinister betrayal of the people of Tasmania and all those throughout the world who understand the true importance of trees …