• An alleged security guard has been recorded making violent threats towards a protest group opposing a highway development in western Victoria. (Sissy Austin/Facebook)Source: Sissy Austin/Facebook
Campaigners have been fighting plans to bulldoze trees sacred to the Djap Wurrung peoples.
NITV Staff Writer

17 Apr 2019 - 4:11 PM  UPDATED 17 Apr 2019 - 4:11 PM

Indigenous affairs commentators have compared France’s Notre-Dame cathedral fire to the impending demolition of 800-year-old trees.

A massive fire ravaged the 850-year-old Gothic building this week destroying much of its roof and causing its steeple to collapse.

Parisians spoke about how the cathedral fire has made them think about identity, memory and shared culture.

In Australia, some took to social media to make comparisons with a situation closer to home.

In Victoria, 200 kilometres west of Melbourne, over 260 trees sacred to the Djap Wurrung peoples - including a traditional birthing tree - have been flagged to be bulldozed in preparation for a $42 million upgrade to the Western Highway.

The plans will duplicate 12.5 kilometres of the highway from Buangor to Ararat and reduce travel time on the route by an estimated two minutes.

The Victorian government subsequently altered the plans for the duplication route in February but campaigners said that it would still impact on culturally significant trees.

Demonstrators set up three camps on the land last month in an attempt to stop roadworks.

An emergency application was also lodged  to protect the trees under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act.

“These beautiful trees include an 800-year-old tree that has seen over 50 generations born inside of a hollow in her trunk and a 350-year-old directions tree that has been shaped and resembles a woman,” the Djab Wurrung Embassy website says.

“This area is part of the song line, the series of scared trees and artefacts we find here regularly prove its significance.”

'This isn't over': Djab Wurrung protectors increase presence as police stand down
The ongoing fight to save sacred trees along the Western Highway in Victoria has come to a head, with police blockading roads where machinery was expected to pass to begin work on Tuesday.
‘Sacred’ Djap Wurrung trees earmarked for removal get temporary reprieve following protests
Protesters have temporarily stopped work by VicRoads on the Western Highway near Ararat to save what are said to be ancient trees, sacred to the Djap Wurrung peoples.
Removal of sacred Djap Wurrung trees an 'act of cultural terrorism'
A protest camp and tent embassy have been set up to stop the bulldozing of sacred trees for the new Western Highway.