Imagine living for 750 years and all the events that have passed by since a tiny boab seedling sprouts forth and takes root in the northern Kimberley of north western Australia. Over the centuries it grew, taking its place in the lives of the local Aboriginal tribe of the Gija people until one day, along comes the 21st century. A new road, immune to the annual flooding, must be be built (“it’s a bypass, you’ve got to build bypasses”) and in its way, near to the Aboriginal community of Warmun, stands the majestic boab tree (Adansonia gregorii). Thankfully instead of bulldozing the boab away, as would have happened in times past, plans were made to move the tree to Perth where it would be planted alongside younger versions of its species in Kings Park.
The journey took 6 days to complete, covering 3,200km (2,000 miles) and, considering the distance covered, required only 61 electric overhead wire lifts. Most of the agencies involved in transporting the 36 ton tree across Western Australia provided their time and services free of charge.
One of the companies involved was the Road Pilot company OZWest Ltd whose vehicles escorted the oversized load on its journey. The company boss, Joe was keen to explain to the inquisitive onlookers in Kings Park the task involved in removing the tree from its origin in Warmun to its new home.
The Kings Park Management Officers were on hand to organise the logistics of planting the giant tree and
took time to show the boab seed-pods to waiting crowds, explain the expected timetable of events and answer a thousand and one questions from interested adults and children alike.
An Aboriginal ceremony “The Smoking” was performed by representatives of the Nyoongar people, the traditional owners of the land around Perth, to welcome the tree to its new home and to accept the gift of the tree from the Gija people of Warmun.
Finally late in the afternoon the great boab was lowered into position overlooking the Swan River where it may well live for another 750 years.
You can see more photos of the historic boab tree planting and Aboriginal ceremony in Kings park at my Flickr Photostream.