Soft Pastel, 29 x 45cm, 13. April, 2018. Johannes Bauer
Ever since I have seen my first ANGOPHORA tree and Angophora forest in Mimosa Rocks at the South Coast, I have been ‘hooked’ by its twisted branches and its growth habit which flows up and down, left and right, over and under, like a snake, rather than simply displaying a mere tree’s straight urgency for height. Walking through the Angophora forests at Mimosa Rocks or in Capertee or Mystery Bay, I am not only amazed by their shapes and forms but wonder also whether the last word on species has been spoken. Probably not.
They are only found on Australia’s southern east coast. In our region we have a species which grows around Peel but I have never seen them in our locality (Oberon). Most of them have been- the usual story- cleared for agriculture. Although the timber is described as of high quality and has even been suggested for boat building – with the natural twists and turns given stronger bent parts- its seems that not much ever came of it. As usual there seemed no need to complicate things and other good timbers were more straightforward to find, grow and process. Angophora was described as a genus of the Myrtle family in 1797. Endemic to Australia, its species are only found in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria with the centre of diversity along the northern and central coast of New South Wales. Angophora is closely related to Corymbia and Eucalyptus, and all three genera are often referred to as “eucalypts”.
Angophora can be distinguished from other eucalypt by its oppositely arranged leaves and flowers which lack opercula, cap-like structures which fall off as the flowers open. Taxonomists have long recognised the relationships between the eucalypt taxa, but have not agreed upon a classification scheme.
Angophora species were nicknamed “apples” by European settlers, who thought they resembled apple trees.