If you want a canoe, try shaping it with a stone axe | PICTURES

Click or flick across for more photos showing the process of removing the bark.

ABORIGINAL elder Tunny Murray remembers when cutting the bark off a live tree to create a canoe was done the simple way: by hand.

“We didn’t have cherry pickers or hard hats back in the old days,” he said.

The custom is being revived at Horseshoe Lagoon in West Albury, where work began yesterday to strip bark from the trunk of a river red gum with a stone axe.

The bark will soak in water before being smoked over fire and shaped into a canoe.

Mr Murray has many fond memories of making the canoes as a child.

“It wasn’t something you kept — it was used to get across the river or billabong to cart things like food,” he said.

Wagirra project team leader Cassandra Storm said the project would help pass on traditional skills.

The canoe is destined for an education display at Wonga Wetlands.

Aboriginal community representative Richard Kennedy said it would create a talking point for visitors.

“If you look around waterways you may find canoe scars, the shape left on the tree from taking the bark,” he said.

Murray Catchment Management Authority gave a $30,000 grant for the project, which has the backing of Albury’s Wiradjuri community, Albury Council and North East Catchment Management Authority.

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