Gumma Garra – Scarred Tree

Gumma Garra – Scarred Tree

At Evans Head, a scarred tree stands. A tallow wood, its bark was removed by the local Indigenous mob to make a small canoe or repair a canoe. There are two stories attached to this site.

The First is that the bark was removed by young boys being trained in canoe-making and bark removal. The actual scar would have been much larger if the boys had been making a full size canoe to seat two men.

The second story relates to the legend of “The Three Brothers” Their canoes were called “barks”. It is thought that this bark was removed to repair one of the brothers’ canoes.

Tallow wood bark was used for canoe-making because it is resistant to insect attack and could be made waterproof. When the tallow bark was removed, it was cured over a fire and hardened by the smoke. The ends were then tied together and mud or resin from the grass tree was rubbed on the bark to waterproof the ends.

The canoes sat very low in the water; they were stable and moved well in rivers and creeks.

A fire was sometimes lit in the centre of the canoe, so the men could cook small fish during their hunting trips. Each Canoe might have been used by a few families.

Taken from : “Our Land Our Spirit” – By Jolanda Nayutah & Gail Finley –  North coast institute for Aboriginal Community Education. Published in 1988




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