A rare tree that once provided wood to build two canoes has been found on a Vacy dairy farm.
The historic Aboriginal scar tree is more than 100 years old and is the third of its kind to be found in the Hunter.
Across Australia there are only 7500 scar trees, and it is the first time in 20 years that this kind of tree has been spotted around Vacy.
Hunter Local Land Service vegetation officer Nicci Cooper noticed the tree while she was inspecting an area farmer David Williams wanted to clear to expand his irrigation regime.
Ms Cooper noticed the unusual scarring on a nearby box tree and sought the help of Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council sites officer Steve Brereton to learn more about it.
Mr Brereton said the scars were evidence of traditional Aboriginal cultural techniques that had been used for thousands of years.
“This is a culturally significant find for the Hunter,” he said.
“It is common to come across trees with scars caused by lightening or machinery, but this tree has a scar on either side which indicates that it has had two canoes cut out of it.”
Mr Brereton said the canoes that were cut out of the tree would have been used on the Paterson River and during a flood to move around.
“There was once hundreds of trees around the Paterson River with similar scaring but now they are extremely rare,” he said.
The term scar tree refers to trees that Aboriginal people scarred to remove bark or wood.
There were many trees with similar scars around the area during the 19th century, but many have since been lost due to felling, bush fires and land clearing.
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has recorded the tree’s location to ensure it is protected and preserved.
Mr Williams’ planned irrigation system is not near the tree and he is keen to work with the Aboriginal community to preserve it.
“I’m glad the tree is there and that I can protect it,” he said. “It’s actually quite interesting having all this history on my property.”