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The Australian Shame On You Tree

Yeah … Australia … and morals.

ULLADULLA, Australia- I went to a look out over a bay. Someone told me that I could see whale parts sticking out from the water from here. It was beautiful … and all that. But I didn’t see any whale parts. What I did see though was a permanently placed metal sign notifying the public that at some prior date, an extended amount of time ago, someone had vandalized a tree at that spot.

It took no imagination to conjure up what the crime looked like, as the assaulted tree was left in place right next to the sign.

It was a mid-size tree that someone sawed some of the branches off of.

If I had to guess at a motive, I would say that they more than likely wanted a better view to see whale parts sticking up out of the bay so they removed a few branches from the tree — which was kind of planted right in the way.

As I looked back and forth from the sign to the tree I was absolutely astonished. The weathering on the metal sign and the aging of the wounded tree led me to believe that this had happened a long time ago — like, five to ten years ago.

This wasn’t a notification to alert the public of a recent crime, but a permanent public shaming campaign. It was so everybody who ever visited this spot could share in the good people of Australia’s antagonism for whoever it was that would commit such a heinous act.

It seems to me — an American — that the problem could have been better solved just by planting a new fucking tree. Or by removing trees from that spot completely because it was made obvious that at least a portion of the population doesn’t want them there.

By putting up permanently affixed sign and leaving a hacked up tree in-situ they essentially created more of a public eyesore than the original act of vandalism ever could. It’s the equivalent of someone scrawling into an ancient monument or natural rock face the words, “Asshole was here,” and then the government erecting a giant blinking sign pointing to it.

Who wants to see that?

Filed under: Australia, Travel Diary

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3548 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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