These are the cells that capture the light and use this energy to produce the food for the trees allowing them to grow and survive in often harsh environments. There are hundreds of Eucalypt species across Australia from ghost gums and river red gums to snow gums and ironbarks. They are important markers in the environment, providing habitat, food, medicines and resources.
The Iron Bark tree is a significant tree in my Wiradjuri and Gamilaroi Nations. It is well known across western and north-western NSW. It has dark grey-black furrowed bark – which never sheds, but rather accumulates on the tree over time creating the furrows in the bark. The tree represents strength and continuity as it survives harsh environs and requires burning for the germination of seeds.
The tree is also used for many purposes, such as: the sap/resin which collects in the bark in clusters can be used to dye items and water proof hides, etc. The sap/resin when processed in a different way can also be used as an ointment.
The wisdom face depicted on the tree is to represent the burls found on these trees and which, when taken off and carved out, form beautiful bowls; the face represents the hidden wisdom in tree which we don’t often look at or for and what we can learn from the tree, and the multiple ways these trees can help us.
Artist: Lynette Riley
Iron Bark Tree Cloak – Explanation of Designs.
Note: The sap/resin from an Iron Bark Tree has been processed and used to dye the trunk and branches of the tree on the cloak. This sap/resin was collected and processed by Diane Riley-McNaboe (the artist’s sister).
See image above for number alignment: