Venerating Trees

An AEGIS: Art + Ecologies research network seminar presented in association with the Contemporary Art and Social Transformation (CAST) research group based in the School of Art.

In late October, the Victorian government cut down an ancient Yellow Box tree to make way for a highway. Known to Australian Indigenous Djab Wurrung women as a sacred Directions Tree. Many wept as the tree was felled, and the media reported that police arrested around 50 people at the site. 

This tree was near to a group of trees where First Nations women gave birth: the main Birthing Tree is believed to be 800 years old, and like other trees are respected by Australia's Traditional Owners.

In homage to the sacred Directions Tree, in this AEGIS seminar we explore how two non-Traditional Australians have approached the life of trees.


  • Chair: Associate Professor Linda Williams (RMIT University, Melbourne)
  • Louise Fowler-Smith (University of New South Wales, Sydney)
  • Associate Professor Marco Amati  (RMIT University, Melbourne)

Image credit: Louise Fowler-Smith

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer