Arboraphobia”, the fear of trees makes sense given the massacre of trees that is our revenge on the choking bush.
The pioneer settlers possessed a “psychopathic fear of the gum or the wattle”. Then there is the zeal with which bulldozers levelled the ground before post-war suburbs were built; and Tasmania’s continuing determination to churn up ancient forests and sift them into woodchip?
Trees are associated with darkness and anxiety specific to the Australian colonial experience of the Australian bush. The Australian landscape must be stripped of its trees--along with the Aboriginal presence--- if room is to be made for its colonisers. This was so even though settler Australia's vision of the landscape as empty, unwelcoming bush or desert.
The gold rushes saw huge areas completely stripped of trees to clear space and provide fuel. Without the tree’s roots, the topsoil immediately became susceptible to erosion and salinity, which would remove any hope for trees to grow back. Soon the trees that precariously skirted the mining regions also found themselves victim to the axe as the mining activity expanded in rural regions. Timber was needed in larger and larger quantities as a building material for the expanding towns, supporting the growing mineshafts and constructing waterways