Welcome to The Mouat Tree Project

Through the ACT region of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) and in partnership with the Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG), Office of the Surveyor-General, ACT Heritage and ACT Parks and Conservation Service (PCS), a project to plan and construct an interpretive structure to house Border Reference Tree H87 (the Mouat Tree) at the Namadgi National Park Visitor Information Centre (VIC) is underway.

The Mouat Tree Project invites you to participate in this important conservation and interpretation project. You can be part of preserving this unique chapter in the story of nation building by making a financial contribution to help realise the vision.

Visit the project’s Gofundme web site where you’re able to make a secure financial contribution. Your participation and contribution will assist in the design and construction of this exciting cultural landmark.

Harry Mouat’s Border Reference Tree is once again proudly standing. Under the watchful eye of Senior Field Supervisor Mark Rodden and the talented team from Namadgi, an historic 150 yr old border marker tree now takes pride of place as the centrepiece of a rather ambitious interpretive shelter to be built in the grounds of Namadgi Visitor Centre. The interpretive display will tell the story of how water catchments shaped the very nature of the Bush Capital. Now that the Tree is once again standing we will move to the next phase of the project being the detailed design of ‘shade shelter’ and supporting infrastructure. This will be followed by the construction of retaining walls to support the interpretive signage. We will also look to recreate a lockspit as a means of representing the border.

Reblazing at original Mouat Tree site

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On 16 May 2015 the ACT Region of SSSI and interested ACT government agencies held an event to ‘blaze’ a young tree close to the original location of H87 (now known as the Mouat Tree). The purpose of the event was to remember the original surveyors and their teams who completed the territory border survey 100 years before and to raise awareness of The Mouat Tree Project.

A new tree was surveyed and ‘blazed’ on the day and connected to existing border marks. A border survey work plan will be prepared in the months to come.

The reblaze event incorporated the following:

  • The group of 18 invitees incorporating ACT government representatives and members of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) met at Namadgi National Park Visitor Information Centre at 8.30am. They inspected the original tree and then proceeded to the original location of H87 (the Mouat Tree) on the Territory’s southern border 7km west of the Boboyan Road.
  • The new tree was blazed and surveyed on the day by the ACT Surveyor- General, Jeff Brown, using an axe and chisel. The axe Jeff used belonged to his father who had used it do similar work in Victoria during the 1930s.
  • The Surveyor-General of NSW, Des Mooney and the President of the Institute of Surveyors NSW, Phil Hayward, assisted at the event. Des and Jeff formed the ‘Surveyors-General’ field party which did the hard work of blazing and surveying the tree.
  • Brett and Jordan from White Knight UAVs filmed the event using drones.
  • Mike Lavis, our local surveyor poet wrote and read a poem he had prepared for the day.
  • Tradition has it that the meeting of state Surveyors-General at a border was celebrated with Scotch Whiskey and fruitcake. ACT Surveyor-General, Jeff Brown kept the tradition alive on the day. The name of the person who spilt the Scotch is being withheld for the sake of my job.
  • Jeff Brown, local harmonica player, led the communal singing of Waltzing Matilda proving surveyors can master the finer arts.
  • Richard Snashall from Spinning Reel Audio Visual did the filming and interviews on the day.
  • Surveyors Mike Lavis and Ian Rose, who attended on the day, both worked on the border re-survey project following the 2003 fires in the ACT and NSW.

Greg Ledwidge – SSSI ACT