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Cazneaux Tree, Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia, Australia

This magnificent River Red Gum tree, often referred to as the Cazneaux Tree, was photographed by renowned Australian photographer Harold Cazneaux in 1937. His photograph, titled 'Spirit of Endurance', gained international recognition and was arguably Cazneaux's most famous work, winning many awards in Australian and International exhibitions.

When I photographed this tree, it still stood alone and mighty, almost unchanged after almost 75 years. After a beautiful sunrise that lit up the sky pink, the first rays of sun began to break through and reach this tree. Standing there photographing this tree, with the constantly changing light and imposing Wilpena Pound in the background, it was hard not to concur with the thoughts of Cazneaux himself. In May 1941 he wrote:

"This giant gum tree stands in solitary grandeur on a lonely plateau in the arid Flinders Ranges, South Australia, where it has grown up from a sapling through the years, and long before the shade from its giant limbs ever gave shelter from heat to white men. The passing of the years has left it scarred and marked by the elements - storm, fire, water, - unconquered, it speaks to us from a Spirit of Endurance. Although aged, its widespread limbs speak of a vitality that will carry on for many more years. One day, when the sun shone hot and strong, I stood before this giant in silent wonder and admiration. The hot wind stirred its leafy boughs, and some of the living elements of this tree passed to me in understanding and friendliness expressing The Spirit of Australia."

Cazneaux regarded his photograph of this tree as his most Australian picture and called it the Spirit of Endurance, which I have adopted here for it truly sums up what you feel when you see this tree.


2013 | Gold Award - NSW/ACT Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) Professional Photography Awards

2013 | Silver Award - Canon Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA)

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