On Tuesday 19 April 2011, The Honourable Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister of Australia, joined the then Chief Minister Jon Stanhope MLA in planting a ghost gum (Corymbia aparrerinja) in the Central Valley of the National Arboretum, which was grown from a cutting taken from the ‘Tree of Knowledge’.
The Tree of Knowledge is intimately linked to the spiritual birthplace of the Australian Labor Party.
The Tree of Knowledge is prominent in Australian history as it was planted next to the railway station in the central west Queensland town of Barcaldine, where striking shearers gathered in 1891 to protest against their poor working conditions and wages. The shearers were eventually forced to return to work on the squatter’s terms, however, the strike gave rise to the formation of the Australian Workers Union and ultimately the Australian Labor Party.
At the ceremony the Prime Minister announced a contribution of $20 million to the National Arboretum Canberra as part of the Commonwealth’s gift to the Australian Capital Territory for Canberra’s centenary in 2013.
“The planting of this ghost gum, so significant to the struggle of working men and women for better pay and conditions, is a significant milestone in the development of the Arboretum,” Mr Stanhope said.
Photographs of the Tree Planting