Five Miles from the Sea : Level 17 Artspace

Curated by Geoff Tolchard
each participating Melbourne based artist has selected a location five miles from the sea...

Lemon Tree, very pretty…. 2011.
Umbrella, sheets, tea towel, buttons and pins. H: 92, W: 86, D: 22 cm.



At the geographic point where my street meets the Merri Creek is believed by local Indigenous oral history to be the place where John Batman sealed the Dutigullar Treaty (items traded included knives, scissors, blankets and shirts). It is the only known attempt at a treaty between first Australians and European colonists.

Wurundjeri elder Ian Hunter… said his grandmother Martha Nevin told stories about his great-great-great-
grandfather Jerum-Jerum, one of three senior tribal elders at the treaty signing.
"Nanna pointed out the scar tree and said 'That's where it happened'".

At some stage it is believed a memorial was placed to mark the site.

What is left of the believed memorial plaque found under weeds, December, 2010. Photograph: Terri Brooks

Scar Tree, McLachlan St, Northcote. Image Reproduced from the Port Phillip Pioneers Group Inc. Website.
The Treaty Scar Tree (now fallen), December, 2010. Photograph: Terri Brooks
With kind assistance from local historian Alexander Romanov-Hughes.

N.B.:  Title taken from the lyrics of ‘Lemon Tree’, 1962, Peter Paul and Mary.


…Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat…


FIVE MILES FROM THE SEA
April 19 - May 13
Level 17 Artspace
Victoria University
17/300 Flinders Street
Melbourne 3000  



Level 17 Artspace Website 


Update


The tree has gone, April, 2011. Photograph: Terri Brooks


Julia Irwin, 'History overlooked and overgrown', Northcote Leader, May 4, 2011, News 9. 
Preston Leader, May 7, 2011, Lifestyle, Arts and Entertainment.
Intertribal Times, Native and Aboriginal news stories from around the globe, May 6, 2011.

McLachlan Street site. Photograph: Adam Elwood.
Excerpt from Press Release 
‘The artwork commenced as a replica scar tree but turned into a lemon tree during the construction process. My mother gave me material scraps to use for painting rags. Included was a frayed lemon print tea towel from the 1960s. I subconsciously began singing Peter Paul and Mary’s hit song, Lemon Tree, 1962. The chorus seemed appropriate to me, as a symbol of post settlement history… a bitter fruit. The tree even has gore wasp. I decided to make the tree in a likeness of my childhood Christmas tree. Made by my grandmother, the tree was an open umbrella stripped of its covering with the structural wires wrapped in cotton wool, bound with tinsel and adorned with hand crafted decorations. My grandmother enjoyed improvising, a legacy of living through the Great Depression as a young adult. Is it OK that the scar tree and memorial plaque are in this condition? What is the importance of Indigenous oral history?’ Terri Brooks.