Diamond Tree Lookout
The 51m high Diamond tree lookout is located approximately 10km south of
Manjimup on the South Western Highway. This massive Karri tree has been operating as a fire lookout for over 65 years.
Constructed in 1940, the tree still remains in active service as not only a fire lookout but also a tourist
attraction. If you aren't scared of heights, trees or really big things you can attempt to climb the sucker. But be
warned it isn't for the faint hearted, in fact it is down right frightening, all you have are metal spikes (which
have been hammered into the side of the tree) to climb up. I was egged on by chants of chicken, when I decided it
looked too dangerous to climb. Reluctantly I began my ascent checking the strength of each peg as I went. I managed
to climb half way up before being scared off by a really big warning sign at the resting
platform. Evidently the first part of the climb is the easiest, the second half is
a near vertical climb which narrows considerably.
As is always the case, it is only at the half way point (when your half way up the tree) you are advised not to
wear a backpack. So if you aren't scared off by big warning signs or wearing a backpack, you will come across a
2.5m x 2.5m wooden tree top tower, right at the top (wouldn't have liked the job of building that!). The tower is
the only tree top tower in the world. When the Diamond tree was opened to the public in the 1970's it attracted
over 2,000 people per year . If you wonder, like me, how safe the climbing pegs are, I have been informed they were
replaced in 1991 (uh huh!).
The tree top lookouts were built during the late 1930's as a way of identifying the location of
fires which often flared up amongst the tall timbers. Today light aircraft take on the role of fire spotting and
the Department of Conservation and land Management (CALM) are actively involved in preventative measures in
reducing the intensity of wildfires.
Remember you climb at your own risk but children are not permitted to climb the tree (ever!) as the
rungs are quite a distance a part and it's very, very dangerous. You are also warned not to climb during wet or
windy conditions, but I would guess that is a given. I must say it is probably one of the few remaining terrifying
experiences still open to the public in Western Australia.