Esperence and Dover Forests: Important Bushfire Information:
This area was impacted by the Riveaux Road Bushfire in January / February 2019 and as a consequence, many of the trees listed here have succumbed to the fire. Be aware that the potential hazards from falling branches and collapsing trees are substantial and conditions will remain dangerous for some time.
Above and below: The world's largest blue gum, 'Rullah Longatyle' lies fallen and cut along John road
Russell Du Gueslin standing next to the burnt base of the Kermandie Queen, April 2019
Above: 'Kermajesty' is 93m tall - it survived the fires with minimal damage and hopefully can live many more years
Above: 'Brutus Maximus' 87m tall, in a superb area of old growth south west of the fires.
Above: The shattered base of Bullant's Revenge - the main trunk vaulted down the steep hill and could not be seen from our vantage point! Below: Bullant's Revenge in 2012 before the fires
Please note - all photos and text below pre-date the bushfire.
Please read the attached list of dead and damaged trees.
Above: While The Spiral Claw' appears to have just survived the fires, sadly almost all the other giants in this grove appear to have been killed by the 2019 fires . The 'Claw' is a huge Eucalyptus obliqua with a twisted trunk and a complex crown composed mostly of original branches. What is interesting about this small patch of 500 year old forest is the diversity of eucalypt species. Just 150m away from 'The Spiral Claw' was the giant Eucalyptus globulus, 'Rullah Longatyle', and 50m away was the extraordinary 'One Arm Bandit' a Eucalyptus regnans - and to top it off, there was the 15m girthed 'Recluse' (Eucalyptus delegatensis) growing a mere 10m away (pictured below). We didn't even notice 'The Recluse' at first because its base was almost hidden behind numerous ancient musk (Olearia argophylla) and myrtle beech trees (Nothofagus cunninghammii) which were growing on and around its base.
Pictured above is the amazing lower trunk of 'The Bandit' photographed before the fires. showing its massive fern matt composed of kangaroo fern, Microsorum pustulatum and leather fern, Rumohra adiantiformis, creeping up its southern side. The photo also shows the massive branch which gave the tree its name. When approaching it from the south you encounter the unusual pairing of an ancient Eucalyptus obliqua and myrtle beech growing side by side with the myrtle actually matching the eucalypt in size.
A view of the crown of the 93m tall 'Kermajesty'
above: Destroyed in the 2019 fires, 'Rullah Longatyle' means 'Strong Girl' in the local Aboriginal language and it was a fitting name for this now fallen massive blue gum, Eucalyptus globulus. Strangely, this was the only blue gum in the area - All of the other Eucalypts in the vicinity were either regnans, delegatensis or obliqua. This magnificent tree was 17m girth, 80m tall and its huge trunk contained 368 cubic meters of wood. Below, Tom Greenwood is dwarfed by its lower trunk
Today, all that remains of 'Swearing Bob's Beast' is a huge pile of shattered slabs of wood - the tree burned then collapsed following the 2019 fires. This tree remained undiscovered until 2010 even though it easily seen from a forestry road. While it was never a very tall tree ( it currently is just over 60m), it had a huge trunk and a series of truly massive branches. Some of which were large enough to support their own epiphytic gardens of sassafras and ferns (see below).
The massive wall of wood of the 'Hopetoun Link Hulk' - killed in the 2019 fires
Tom Greenwood and Grant Harris are dwarfed by the 'Kermandie Queen' - Which has the largest known base of any tree in tasmania - 21.6m girth.
Another view of the Kermandie Queen, featuring from left, Derek McIntosh, Tom Greenwood and myself.
Above: Killed in the 2019 fires, the 'Coodabeen Champ' tree was 86m tall to it's broken top which was still around 85cm thick. How tall it was before it lost its original crown we will never know, however, it seems highly likely that it once easily exceeded 100m in height.
'Cliffy of Dover' at 93.3m tall has the 2nd highest living leaves of any tree in Australia. Climber Tom Greenwood can be seen ascending 'Cliffy' on the upper left hand side of the tree.
Above: Destroyed in the 2019 fires -The craggy crown of 'Troll' - 18.3m girth and 56m tall, a huge Eucalyptus delegatensis growing in a patch of impenetrable rainforest which includes some 'horizontal scrub' Anodopetalum biglandulosum. 'Horizontal' has the unusual growth habit of falling over once the crown reaches a certain height. It then grows new stems from the now horizontal original trunk. In this way it creates a lattice of different sized trunks - walking through this type of scrub often means climbing over it at a height of 5 or more metres above the ground on slippery, moss covered branches with progress being often less than 500m per hour.