For those of you who don’t know me I am a proud Australian and I love my country. Having said that I reckon that almost everyone out there will say the same thing about their homeland. This is only natural. The purpose of this post though is not to brag about how beautiful Australia is, rather I want to tell you about one small part, perhaps insignificant to some, of history that happened not too far from where I live.
Whilst every country has it’s pioneers, when one usually thinks of pioneers the first thing that comes to mind is great feats of heroism in times of tribulation and hardship, of forging ahead into the unknown finding new territory to settle. The fact is that being a true pioneer does not necessarily include heroism although it may well mean battling very hard times, working the land and making it your own.
South Australia has many pioneers and while many may not consider Johann Herbig as one I tend to disagree. It all began on the 3rd of October 1855 when Johann Friedrich Herbig arrived in South Australia on the Wilhelmine from Germany. Although poor he manage to lease about 80 acres of land on a time payment schedule and not having enough money to build a house he lived in a old gum tree that was found on his property. This hollow red gum tree is located at Springton South Australia and is about 60 km’s from Adelaide. It’s about 300-500 years old, has a diameter of 7 metres and a height of 24 metres.
He lived in the tree for about five years. He met his bride to be, Anna Caroline Rattey on the 1st of December 1856 and married her in 1858 and they lived in the tree together. A year later the first of their sixteen children, Johann, was born in their tree house. It wasn’t until their second son was born a year later and the tree became too small for the growing family, a hut was built.
He died on the 18th October 1886 aged 58 due to an unfortunate accident. The tree has been occupied on several occasions by others and today the Herbig Family Tree represents a graphic link to early European settlement of the area.
Many people when talking about family trees think of it in terms of genealogy, but here in South Australia we have a tree that was inhabited by a family for roughly five years. This would make it one of the few actual living tree house
The tree is located 63 km north-east of Adelaide in Springton which was originally known as Black Springs. It is a small township at the south-eastern extremity of the Barossa Valley. It is definitely worth a look at if you are in the area.