This beautiful Wadawurrung Scarred Tree finds a new home in the heart of the city

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This beautiful Wadawurrung Scarred Tree finds a new home in the heart of the city

The scarred tree is lowered into place outside Wurriki Nyal

The scarred tree is now the centrepiece of Wurriki Nyal, the new council civic precinct.

At the request of Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, a culturally significant scarred tree that was in a fragile and deteriorating state has been conserved and moved to Wurriki Nyal, to stand at the heart of Greater Geelong’s new Civic Precinct.

The significant tree is believed to predate European Settlement of the Geelong region and has been carefully restored and relocated to Wurriki Nyal.

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The restored scarred tree is the centrepiece of Wurriki Nyal’s (WUU-ruh-kih nee-YAHL) outdoor community space, beside a traditional gathering or yarning circle named ‘Gayoonpanyoon Goopma’, which means ‘gather’ in Wadawurrung language.

Scarred trees are named for the long scars in their trunks left behind from when First Nations people have traditionally removed bark for a variety of purposes, including canoe making.

The relocation and preservation of the scarred tree has formed part of the City’s ongoing co-design partnership with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners in the design of Wurriki Nyal.

Following detailed consultation, the City engaged a specialist arborist to assess the tree, which was deemed at high risk of further degradation and collapse in its previous environment.

In collaboration with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, its new home in Wurriki Nyal was agreed.

Careful removal, preservation and relocation works were undertaken over a six-month period.

“Wadawurrung value the City of Greater Geelong’s support to see the scarred tree preserved for future generations,” says Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation CEO Paul Davis.

“This is an old soul that Wadawurrung Elders wanted to save while still standing. The current process of conserving scarred trees is taking place across many Traditional lands. This old Biyal (red gum) will now stand in the Wurriki Nyal Civic Precinct – a place where it is protected and can be safely viewed by all.”

“This venerable old tree has been part of many important cultural moments for Geelong’s Traditional Owners through its long lifetime,” adds Greater Geelong Mayor Peter Murrihy.

“It will be a tremendous honour to have it bear witness to the next chapter of our community’s civic history at Wurriki Nyal. Increasing the understanding and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage is a key action from our Reconciliation Action Plan. We thank Wadawurrung Traditional Owners for sharing this precious part of their history with the people of Geelong.”

Other important cultural features in the building include artwork from three Wadawurrung artists, Dr Deanne Gilson, Kait James, and Billy-Jay O’Toole.

The name Wurriki Nyal means ‘to speak and talk together’ in Wadawurrung Language.

More than 850 City employees across nine Central Geelong locations are moving to Wurriki Nyal in stages over August and early September.

Customer Service in the City’s new Civic Precinct will open on 5 September 2022.