Captured by photographers and painters alike, ghost gums have casted a spell over many who have travelled to Central Australia. From those made famous by Albert Namatjira, the mystique and beauty of the ghost gums have featured prominently in the landscapes of many artists, extending even beyond the watercolour tradition known as the Hermannsburg School.


Visitors to Alice Springs have the opportunity to see ghost gums as they explore the MacDonnell Ranges, both east and west… and visitors to the Alice Springs Desert Park and the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, can also see them there.

Eucalyptus aparrerinja. The word aparrerinja comes from the Arrernte language to mean ‘found around river red gums’, although it is described by the Western Arrernte word for ghost gum, as ilwempe.
Source: Ghost Gums, Ausemade

Living spirits are said to reside in the ghost gums, and have a deep spiritual connection for Aboriginal people.

For those staying at Vatu Sanctuary, there are two majestic ghost gums that rise above the entrance ways into the property, like sentinel guardians. The trunk and boughs of the gums glisten white to gold in the setting sun. The gum leaves whisper and birds chatter.

Planted as young saplings back in 1989 by Freda Glynn, who co-founded the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association Group of Companies; which incorporates CAAMA and Imparja. Freda Glynn is the matriarch of a film-making family, that included two of her children Erica Glynn and Warwick Thornton and her granddaughter, Tanith Glynn-Maloney. Freda’s other daughter, Susan Glynn recalls fond memories of the property.

During the Alice Springs filming of Samson and Delilah, the film crew stayed at Vatu Sanctuary.

The ghosts gums make a statement on Babbage Street, twin spirits over a sanctuary… that is also a haven for many a visiting bird.

The Sacred Kingfisher have often been seen in the branches surveying the surrounds and looking down into Vatu Sanctuary… now that is another story…

Blog and Images © Ausemade Pty Ltd