King’s Park is a glorious treasure just a few kilometres from the centre of Perth. It sits proudly on the hill, looking over the city and the Swan River. If you do decide to visit, make sure you take one of the free guided walks through the park.
This area of the park has tree lined avenues, manicured lawns and the War Memorial.
But it is more than this. Two thirds of its 4km square area is natural bush land, as well as the Botanic Gardens. And in the Gardens is the boab tree. Australians may remember an article on “Gardening Australia” about the boab’s journey from up in the Kimberleys to Perth. If you don’t know, let me tell you the story. But first, have a look at this mighty tree, Gija Jumulu.
For 750 years this elder of the tree world grew in Telegraph Creek, near Warmum, northern Western Australia. It grew on the land of the Gija people, who used it and other boabs for bush tucker. Apparently the fruits taste like sherbert and are used to treat gastric conditions. Boabs store water, which indigenous people are able to harvest.
The recent resources boom in the Kimberleys meant that a new bridge on the Great Northern Highway was more important than the tree. Fortunately it wasn’t bulldozed down, but moved to Perth, a gift of the Gija people to the people of Western Australia.
The 36 tonne tree travelled 3200 kms to reach Perth, making it the longest land journey of a tree that size — a hard record to beat! The map on the plaque shows its journey.
It looks rather unhealthy but it has settled in well. There are still some rough patches on its bark but the arborists are confident that they will heal. It is deciduous which accounts for its poor looking leaf growth. So here’s to the next 750 years! (Interested in finding out more? Follow the link to a fact sheet on the Gardening Australia website.)
Some more photos of the stunning Western Australian flora.
And I can’t leave you without a photo of the iconic kangaroo’s paw.