Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Bill Kraft Giant

The streets, parks and reserves of Drouin are blessed with giants. The tree register compiled by The Friends of Drouin’s Trees contains over one hundred trees with a circumference greater than 4 metres, (1.27m diameter). More than ninety of these giants in the town are remnant Mountain Grey Gums, Eucalyptus cypellocarpa.

The Bill Kraft giant outside 39 Albert Rd is a Mountain Grey Gum that dominates the streetscape in the area.

The trunk of this magnificent specimen has a girth of 7 metres, (2.23m diameter), and is estimated to be forty-something metres tall. A very rough method of estimating the age of such a tree is to multiply the diameter in centimetres by 1.1, making this giant to be somewhere around 245 years old. Short of cutting down the tree and counting the growth rings, experts use such factors as diameter, height, habitat, hollows, disease and insect attack and the like, to more accurately assess the age of living eucalypt trees – a science beyond the scope of this scribe.

For about 250 years, the Bill Kraft giant has been absorbing pollution from the air and ‘exhaling’ oxygen back to the atmosphere, providing shade, tempering gales, improving property values, reducing run-off, lowering the water table, absorbing noise, etc. This single tree has provided habitat for countless birds, mammals, insects and reptiles. (Any wonder The Friends of Drouin’s Trees tree register is being included in the shire’s list of ASSETS!)

Bill Kraft was an important Drouin identity. He was the manager of the Drouin Co-operative Milk Factory, the president of Drouin’s Chamber of Commerce and an active member of many other local committees. For some time during the 1940’s, Bill Kraft lived in Albert Rd near to the site of this large tree.
Image courtesy of the National Library of Australia

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