Inspiration for Blue Above the Trees

Gippsland - Rainforest and chocolate coloured earth

"The setting for Blue Above the Trees was a different kind of country with a different colour: green, once rainforest green. Although the wide heart of Australia is red, there is an eastern seaboard stretch where there is rainforest with chocolate coloured earth and short swift rivers. A century ago in Gippsland, there was a proud, towering rainforest, covering some 2000 square miles. This forest grew some of the tallest trees in the world, taller even than the redwoods of California. They were the mountain ash thick on the slopes of the Strezlecki Ranges within 100 miles of Melbourne. One fallen giant, without its leafy head, measured 404 prone feet...

Men believed that the mountain slopes, after centuries of receiving fallen leaves and forest debris, would be as fertile as any soil on earth. So with axe and saw they felled the mountain ash, the blackwood, the sassafras and the wattle; they tore down the vines, the tecoma, the supplejack, the clematis; they purged the bracken and the swordgrass. All at great physical and mental cost to themselves and their families. Only to have the forest fight them for survival for most of their remaining years. The forest knew its value to all mankind and fought to the death the men who took the axe to it.""

- Trust the Dream (1999) pages 187-188.

Mavis Thorpe Clark found that, in 1967, little remained of the original rainforest.

"For this book there was much research into the history of the early days; into the methods by which the great forest was conquered first by felling and then by burning ... Out of that research came sorrow for the loss of the forest, but compassion too for the men and the women and the children who gave the years of their lives to its destruction."

- Trust the Dream (1999) page 189.

See also Blue Above the Trees, first published in 1967.

Silhouette of beef bull.

Gippsland, 1967.

Country lane with grassy fields either side.

Gippsland, 1967.

Return to ... Inspiration

Previous Next

Rolling hills.

"Sometimes the valley is a sea of fairy floss mist, sometimes bleary with the rain that still falls on the steep paddocks, and sometimes a sun-sparkled emerald vision with its English grasses".
Trust the Dream (1999) page 189.

Rolling hills.

"I wept, still weep, for the mountain ash, the lyrebird, the koala, the dingo and the wallaby".
Trust the Dream (1999) pages 189-190.

Stump of a tree.

Gippsland, 1967.

Log cabin - front verandah.

Log cabin in Gippsland, 1967.

Log cabin - view of house.

Log cabin in Gippsland, 1967.