On Monday, chainsawed pieces of a once-towering Yellow Box eucalypt tree were loaded into the back of a truck in western Victoria.
To the state government, that tree represented an obstacle to its new Western Highway, which is currently under construction between Ballarat and Stawell.
To the Djab Wurrung traditional owners, it represented a connection to their land, to their ancestors and ancient songlines.
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This sacred 'Directions Tree' was felled on Monday, despite the best efforts of protestors who have spent years trying to save a corridor of more than 200 culturally significant trees from the $672 million highway duplication project.
News of Monday's events drew an outpouring of grief from a number of Indigenous people, activists and allies.
"I can feel the chainsaws tearing through my heart, my spirit, my DjapWurrung body is in pain," tweeted Sissy Austin, a Djab Wurrung woman and member of First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria.
"Today I laid on the floor and cried. Cried for our mother, DjapWurrung Country."
So how did this happen? And how has the government responded?
Let's take a look.
What is the significance of the trees?
The contested area falls in a 12.5 kilometre section of the new highway between Buangor and Ararat.
That land is of particular significance to Djab Wurrung women, as it is home to several Birthing Trees, including one that is more than 800 years old. According to estimates, women have delivered babies in these sacred hollow-trunk trees for 50 generations.
So if you liked the Avatar film, maybe you’d appreciate how it feels when your sacred ancestor trees are torn down by the very government who want to Treaty with us. Absolutely gutted and feel the pain of our ancestors right now 😞 pic.twitter.com/sWt3k36jb3— Lidia Thorpe (@lidia__thorpe) October 26, 2020