Did you know that every single snow gum above 1600m altitude is dead or dying?

 

As you wind up into the Snowy Mountains, onto Kunama Namadgi and Targangal (Mount Kosciuszko), giant colourful snow gums stand proud, seemingly thriving despite many being wiped out by bushfires. But that’s all changing. A small native beetle is slowly but surely eating away at the remaining gums, suffocating and strangling them one by one, leaving only scarred skeletons behind.

 

We’ve all seen the ribbon gum graveyard as we drive south down the Monaro, stark ghostly grey trees, smooth and sunburnt with weathering. This was a devastating dieback event which took place slowly over 15 years, leaving no gum untouched.

 

Scientists, alongside Ngarigo Elders are working against the clock to figure out what’s making this beetle so active, trying to prevent another dieback at the scale of the ribbon gums. These images mourn the gradual death of the Gums, and the Kunama Namadgi environment as we know it.

The three below works have recently been acquired into the ACT Legislative Assembly Permanent Art Collection.

Save Our Snow Gums I Kate Matthews

Save Our Snow Gums I, 2020, inkjet print on archival paper, 100 x 63 cm

Save our Snow Gums II Kate Matthews

Save Our Snow Gums II, 2020, inkjet print on archival paper, 100 x 63 cm

Save Our Snow Gums III Kate Matthews

Save Our Snow Gums III, 2020, inkjet print on archival paper, 63 x 100 cm