When the Australian Gold Rush kicked off in the 1850s, tens of thousands of young Europeans immigrated to the land down under to seek their fortune.
It is now more than 150 years after those heady Gold Rush days that shaped the social fabric and economic scenery of modern-day Australia.
One of the less positive legacies from these times are the more than 50,000 abandoned mines with degraded land across the Australian continent. Working alongside the great-great-great grandsons and granddaughters of last century’s gold diggers, Land Life partnered with the University of New South Wales (NSW) to restore a former mining site.
We soon learned that tree planting down under in NSW comes with its own set of unique challenges. A long summer with 40C+ temperatures and tough soil conditions were a primary concern, not to mention the host of playful locals, namely hordes of kangaroos and cockatoos!
However, despite the heat, kangaroos playing hopscotch on the reservoirs, and cockatoos nipping off the top of the trees, survival rates of the eucalyptus and casuarina trees planted were above 90%. This is a positive sign for future mining restoration projects in Australia.
- Eucalyptus populnea is an Australian native that can grow up to 25 meters tall. The oil from the leaves has been used by the Aboriginals for centuries for anti-inflammatory, deodorant, antiseptic, and antibacterial purposes
- The name casuarina is derived from the Malay word for the cassowary, as the plant’s foliage resembles the bird’s feathers
- The first gold rush in Australia began in May 1851. In 1852 alone, 370,000 immigrants arrived in Australia