Until the levee bank was constructed, Goondiwindi experienced some devastating floods. Every few years the floods would arrive causing havoc and loss. Often the only area completely free of water was the sand hill in front of the Catholic Church.
When heavy rain was reported up river, residents and visitors to the area would gather under this tree to read the river height and get the update on the estimated heights and times the flood peak would arrive at Goondiwindi.
You could stand under the tree at any time day or night and there would always be people looking at the river discussing the river height, how quickly the water was rising and the potential flood damage to the town.
Rumours abounded of massive storms up river, of roads being washed away, and the biggest flood ever was on its way. Tall tales were told of previous flood adventures with people staying to swap stories. Subsequently the tree became known as ‘The Tree of Knowledge’.
Often the conversation would turn to a piece of corrugated iron nailed to the tree with the works “BIRDS IN CAGES ARE A SIN TO JALERS EYES” painted on it. An old lady of that ‘era’ (Mrs Naomi Rackham) wrote the works and nailed the piece of tin to the tree.
As can be seen the old tree has just about covered the sign with only a small portion of tin visible. The significance or meaning of the words has been long since lost in the past.