"A tree that does not burn, just like the community that did not burn.
Made with fire by every member of our community.”
Artwork by Bethany Thurtell
Steps in leaf forging
Welcome to the
Cobargo Community Tree Project.
Cobargo is a small village on the south coast of NSW which, along with the surrounding localities, was devastated by the Black Summer bushfires 2020.
After the fires, we witnessed our communities coming together, helping and supporting each other, physically, emotionally and financially. We want to create something to memorialise what has happened, to recognise what we have lost and at the same time what we have gained in the strength of us all. This project will be created by every member of the community, bringing us all together, helping us heal; a symbol or monument to stand tall and proud from here to eternity.
The idea is to create a tree, made of stainless steel, with each leaf forged by every member of the community. Each leaf will have the creator’s name stamped into the underside as a recognition of their involvement.
The project will be broken into three stages:
Forging of the leaves by community members and adding names.
The creation of the branches, roots and trunk. Attachment of leaves to branches and construction of total tree.
Delivery and installation of tree, including ground works, lighting etc. Addition of any ground sections if applicable (eg melted metal for the tree to rise out of.)
Our local areas are lucky enough to have a number of artisans, including blacksmiths.
Iain Hamilton of Mother Mountain Forge at Dignams Creek is a blacksmith and knife maker with over 20 years of experience, including teaching courses in blacksmithing and knifemaking.
Phillipe Ravenell of Galba Forge at Wandella is a European trained blacksmith specialising in plaited decorative metal work with 40 years of experience.
Both Blacksmiths have agreed to donate their time and expertise to teach and guide community members in making a leaf in stage 1. They will also create the trunk and branches in stage 2, with the help of local welders who have offered their time and expertise in assembly of the tree.