Pooh Bear’s Corner on the Kings Highway between Canberra and Batemans Bay has been delighting travelers for decades, and it would appear that something similar is being created on the Monaro Highway just out of Cooma.
In recent weeks, extra teddy bears have been slung into the hollow of an old Ribbon Gum northwest of Nimmitabel.
The first teddy; a koala, appeared in June last year, but in the opening weeks of 2018 two more have been added, perhaps by Canberra families escaping the capital for a summer holiday on the coast.
Is this the start of something? A new Pooh Bear’s Corner?
The original, west of Batemans Bay, sprung up in the 1970’s.
Crookwell potato farmers David and Barbara Carter are credited with creating the landmark, which sits in a cave next to a rainforest of tree ferns on Clyde Mountain.
The Carter’s apparently saw it as a clever distraction for their young children during the regular run to their holiday home at Rosedale. Other families have been stopping to leave their own teddy bears and soft toys in the cave ever since.
Who is behind the Monaro version remains a mystery, and whoever it is has gone to a bit of trouble. This one sits 10 metres off the ground and takes more effort than Batemans Bay’s Pooh Bear Corner.
Ladders have perhaps been used, or maybe there’s a weight on the end of a rope to hold the teddy in place?
The boy scout in me is curious.
This lone Ribbon Gum was already catching people’s eye long before the first teddy appeared in mid-2017.
As discussion bubbled about the appearance of that koala, regular travelers spoke of the tree’s “presence” in their journey.
Sherri Cooper wrote on the About Regional Facebook page: “My Mum and I were doing weekly trips to Canberra for cancer treatment a while back and we could never find a safe spot to pull over and take a photo when the pink and red bark was at its most spectacular.”
Beth Krncevic wrote: “The twisting branches and changing colours of the bark is what inspired me to start painting and why I have so many gum trees at my home.”
“Beautiful gum tree, always wondered who lived in the hollow. Friday afternoon on my way to Merimbula I must say I was shocked and had a little chuckle to myself, most unexpected resident,” wrote Bev Dobson.
As the colours of this landmark tree change from pink, to red, to green, to steel grey, with the approaching cold season perhaps the next wave of holidaymakers will add new residents to the ancient hollow it carries – the National Parks and Wildlife Service estimates hollows of this size take between 100 and 200 years to form.
Travellers watch on with interest, not just at the weather-beaten bark anymore, but to see who and what will take up residence next.
*This article first appeared on RiotACT.