Scar and Ring Trees

Scar and Ring Trees

One of the highlights for me when paddling the inland rivers is to see scar trees and ring trees. These provide a constant reminder of past habitation by Indigenous people of the land. I didn't see any when I first paddled the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers between 1995 and 2008. But after that I went on some guided trips on the Snowy River with Alpine River Adventures where our knowledgable guide pointed out many scar trees and stone artefacts. Around this time I also heard about ring trees and realised that I had already seen some and photographed what I thought were weird trees - the the Goulburn River tree below. Now knowing what to look for, whilst on subsequent kayak trips on the Edward, Darling, Murrumbidgee and lower Murray Rivers, I spotted many scar and ring trees. Many of these are shown below.

Further information about ring trees can be found in the links below:

Ring trees of Victoria’s Watti Watti people - a very informative article by Jacqueline Power in "The Conversation"

Culturally Modified Trees (CMTs) - Jane Pye has assembled a massive site of CMTs of all sorts including scar and ring trees that she has observed in her area of northern NSW. Check out the "Archive" section for all the photos.

Aboriginal scarred trees in NSW - a manual by Andrew Long for the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation provides detailed information about scar trees and how to identify them.

Respect for Scared Trees - an article by Rob N. Williams in The New Daily.

NPA ACT Article on Ring Trees - Bulletin, June 2019, See page 14

If you have any questions or comments please contact me on

Mike Bremers  

Goulburn River

Edward River

Signposted Ring Tree at Moulamein

Barwon River (NSW)

Four scars on this hollow tree

Darling River

Large canoe tree at Bindara Station

Lower Murray River

Ring and scar tree

Several scars on this one

Murrumbidgee River

A massive ring

Serpentine Creek (VIC)

(a tributary of the Lodden River)