News Archives


24 November 2013: The Tree in the Melbourne Age

Amanda & the Tree

Amanda, Project Manager pictured with the Tree; photo by Simon O'Dwyer, Melbourne Age

Getting prepared for our final night of structural welding, we're visited by a photographer and videographer from the Melbourne Age. Read the article and have a look at the terrific footage that was taken:

Volunteers Forge Iron Tree by John Elder, The Melbourne Age

16 November 2013: Final Branch in Place

Welding the final branch

Positioning the branches ready for welding

Welding the final branch

Peter welds the final branch

Welding the final branch

Andrew, Peter, Amanda and Roland celebrate the branches finally coming together

After a 12 hour day, the very last branch has been tack welded on ready for the welders on Tuesday night. For the first time we see what the Tree looks like.


18-19 October 2013: Support Structure for Main Branches Built

The support stucture to hold the main branches in place during welding

The support stucture to hold the main branches in place during welding

Building the support structure

Building the support structure

One of our problems is how to weld individual branches onto the support branches while making sure all the leaves are pointing in the right direction, and also to ensure that when the main branches are welded to the trunk, no branches occupy the same space. It's impossible to do by lying everything on the floor. Our solution is to build a support bracket that replicates the top of the tree. Two of the support branches go in the sides at the angles determined by our engineers, and we can rotate them around the trunk to where we want them. The last branch goes in the top and can also be rotated. We'll be using this structure to weld all the smaller branches onto the main branches.


9 October 2013: First Major Branch Delivered

Main Branch is put together

Andrew lays out some of the smaller branches to give us an idea of what the main branches will look like

Our first major branch arrives from the welders at Alustain Installations. The welders at Alustain have a lot of experience welding stainless steel and will be doing all the structural welding on the tree. They are welding nine heavy branches onto our three main branches and later will be welding the main branches to the trunk. All these branches were forged under the Blacksmiths Association's powerhammers last year.


7 21 Spetember 2013: Public Open Day at the Factory

Open Day at the Factory Open Day at the Factory Open Day at the Factory Open Day at the Factory

Open Day at the Factory

Our factory was open to the public today and we've been visited by over 300 people. Many people shared their stories and good wishes with the welders assembling the tree.

Our great Event Management Team: Dominic, Danielle and Brendan and their teachers Lissa-Jane and Helen from Plenty Valley Christian College organised this event for us. Thanks to them and also to Foodworks Whittlesea for donating sausages and Bakers Delight Whittlesea for donating bread. Also Whittlesea Shire Council for their support and the projector. Musicians; Neatly Folded Goat and Chris Natoli filled the factory with beautiful music as people wandered through, looking at the leaves and branches.


15 Spetember 2013: Into the Light Festival

Into the Light Festival in Whittlesea

Dan forges leaves with the Tree Project blacksmiths at the Into the Light Festival in Whittlesea

Since the Black Saturday fires, the City of Whittlesea has hosted the annual Into the Light Festival- a celebration of creativity and renewal. The climax of the festival is a stunning lantern parade in the evening. Lanterns are made and carried by local schoolchildren. The Tree Project blacksmiths were honoured to be invited to forge at the festival. They spent the day forging leaves and twigs for the tree. Six of the finished branches were on display to the public.

Creating a Tree: a short film produced by Andrew Garton and a talented group of young people from Whittlesea. The kids shot most of the footage, ran interviews and created sounds for the soundtrack. Commissioned by the City of Whittlesea and screened as part of the Into the Light Festival, September 2013.


7 Spetember 2013: Artists Day at the Factory

Artist Day at the Factory

Artists are invited to the tree assembly factory to draw, photograph and write amongst the leaves

The assembly factory was open to local artists for a day. During their visit, artists were able to photograph the leaves and the branches, make drawings, paintings and write poetry. It was a great chance for the welders to meet the local artists. Thanks to Word Weavers for organising this event.


27 August 2013: Young Film Crew Takes Footage of the Tree Assembly

Film Crew at the Factory

The film crew in the leaf sorting room taking shots of the leaves

A young film crew from Whittlesea came to the factory to interview the welding team and film some of the assembly. The film will be shown as part of the Into the Light Festival in Whittlesea in September.


July 2013: Welding Classes Commence

Welding Class

Ladies Who Weld: the Thursday Night Women's Welding Group

Welding Class

Father and Son Team: Shane and Thomas Kenny

Welding Class

Anna Murphy and Lee McGill welding a branch

Peter Drofenik, one of our terrific volunteer welders has started night classes in TIG welding for local people interested in helping piece the tree together. Our Thursday night class is just for women wanting to weld. We have a shortage of experienced TIG welders, so it's hoped the classes will produce some competent welders to help with the huge job we have ahead.


July 2013: Welding Continues

Welding at the Whittlesea Factory Welding at the Whittlesea Factory Welding at the Whittlesea Factory

Welding at the Whittlesea Factory

Local welders are piecing together the 3500 leaves and hundreds of twigs and branches that will form the intricate canopy of the tree. For those who are interested, we are TIG welding using stainless steel filler wire to weld the stainless steel together and also titanium to stainless steel and silicon bronze filler wire to weld copper and braze leaves to the stainless steel twigs.

In the meantime, in our huge sorting room, each leaf is catalogued and tracked so we will know on which branch it sits on the final tree. Leaves sponsored by families and community groups are kept togetehr so they will be welded to the same branch. It's a huge job keeping track of all the leaves, thanks to our hard working volunteers who have made it possible.

Sorting Room

Branches in the sorting room


22 July 2013: Visit from Young Men of Roma, Queensland

Welding and Forging Team at the Whittlesea Factory

Visitors from Roma QLD with our volunteer Blacksmiths and Welding Instructors

Forging Leaves

Forging leaves at the Blacksmiths' Workshop in Bundoora

In an inspired exchange programme between Roma State College (in the flood affected area of Queensland) and Eltham College (close to the Black Saturday fire affected area here in Victoria,) students raised funding and provided community service in the disaster areas. Eltham College students raised funds for flood relief and travelled to Roma earlier this year to help build a community garden. Students from Roma State College chose to support the Tree Project and raised $1500 and spent a day with the blacksmiths and welders last week.

Thanks to Michael and Tacy and the wonderful crew from Roma State College, the very cool and talented students, Steve our blacksmithing and powerhammer instructor, Peter our TIG instructor, Albin our MIG instructor, Bruce our blacksmithing instructor and Richard our power tools supervisor.