Memorial for Tree of Knowledge by
m3architecture and Brian Hooper


Australian architects m3architecture and Brian Hooper Architect have completed a memorial to a tree in Queensland, Australia.

Called Memorial for Tree of Knowledge, the project marks the site where the Australian Labour party is said to have been founded in 1891.

The remaining parts of the dead tree are framed by an 18 metre-high cube-like structure of hanging timber batons, intended to mimic the shape of the tree's canopy in 1891.

Its root ball is displayed beneath a glass floor panel under this canopy.

Photographs copyright Brian Hopper Architect.

Here's some more information from the architects:


m3architecture complete memorial for Tree of Knowledge in Australia

Brisbane based architecture practice m3architecture, in association with Brian Hooper Architect, have recently completed a £3 million memorial project for the Tree of Knowledge, accredited as being the birthplace of the Australian Labour party in 1891.

Following the poisoning of the tree in 2006 a memorial was commissioned to commemorate and mark this historical landmark located in the small town of Barcaldine in Queensland, Australia.

The design forms an 18 metre high steel and timber structure that follows the canopy, in relief, of the old ghost gum tree using 3,600 individual hanging timber slats.

From afar the memorial seems to form a suspended slatted container that surrounds the remaining branches of the original tree; only once visitors stand under the structure they become aware of the canopy that the individual slats form.

m3architecture's, Michael Lavery explains: “The design was inspired by the way people create and relive memories. The external timbers are charcoaled to create a veil around the memorial space.

This finish and its form reference a place of memory and mourning. The "veil" provides hints to the form and movement inside but it does not fully reveal the impact of this space. This experience is saved for visitors as they enter the shade of the "tree".”

Premier Anna Bligh who opened the monument said: “This is an extraordinary landmark. I have every confidence we are going to see people from all over Australia and from the world wanting to come here and visit this unique and very beautiful monument”

Visible from the highway the building also serves as a signpost for the town and acts as a gateway to Barcaldine forming part of the entrance way to the railway station. At night the memorial is illuminated and creates a popular meeting place for social exchange. The original root ball of the tree is preserved and showcased to visitors through a glass floor panel located under the canopy.

Posted on Friday November 13th 2009 at 11:02 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • di

    beautiful – the base is weird but the installation beautiful.

  • chigchic

    How ironical. To commemorate a small dead tree, may I know how many trees are chopped and wood used to construct such a massive structure ?

  • Monumental ensayo estetico con maderas

  • allsgood

    seems like an ironic waste of lumber to me

  • e3

    So… In order to remember 1 dead tree you have to kill 100 others to make its memorial.
    Now that is what I call Irony

  • Clark

    I like the structure on it’s own, but it seems to fight with and hid the tree too much. I do however love the base.

  • R

    The canopy of the original tree might have been 18 meters, but the whole object as a memorial is far too large in my opinion. Furthermore, as others have mentioned already, the use of resources is quite uneven. Not only have indeed many trees been cut to create a memorial for one but also to spend 3 million on such a memorial seems a bit of an exaggeration.

  • erj

    Love it…but a little creapy!

  • 6 5 4

    The next thing you know, mountains will be flattened to commemorate a pebble….

  • JeffK

    To all those who commented on the waste of trees to make the memorial because it is a tree; YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT. It is to commemorate the birth place of the Australian Labour party, not to commemorate a tree, it is a political landmark that happens to be a tree…. They have have used lumber because it is a relevant material to the context and to the period of the event it is commemorating.
    And since when is creating beautiful spaces a waste of material anyway? It is possibly the most lazy and overused ‘criticism’.

  • beeza

    bang on JeffK! Great project well done M3!

  • Kristof

    Reminds me very much of Imre Makovecz’s Hungarian Pavilion’s interior installation in Seville.

  • U guys are soooo negative thinking….
    Of course, it wastes a lot of wood, but I think this is such a cool idea, with great execution…….

  • Rik

    It’s just a very important tree we’re remembereing here… probably. So boohoo to all the treehuggers.

  • ChicagoCarla

    I first read about the Tree of Knowledge back in May 2009, I was eagerly awaiting to hear of its completion. The article I read said the monument will utilize 7,000 pieces of RECYCLED timber. I don’t know the final results. I was in QLD September 2009, wish I could have seen it.

  • Calico7

    The timber was indeed recycled. Obtained from old timber power poles in South Australia.

    • imaloserbabyy

      That's a sigh of relief.

  • DK

    Very impressive, bold and deff makes a statement. The tee is there to memorate the birth place of the Australian Labour party, use of material is very appropriate and it was also recycled, props to considering this. Although $3m…?? sounds like there was a miss calculation with the accountant…

  • ML

    This is a little too similar to Adjaye’s temporary Southbank pavilion in London…

  • It's look wonderfull, but isn't it a little bit too big…I was shocked by the porportion of the memorial!

  • sim

    some people are kill joys…sod the timber usage – i think its stunning!