Blue gum trees on our smallholding (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)
Blue gum eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus to the botanists, have been a part of the South African landscape since the Gold Rush, long enough that legends have sprung up about how they first made it to the country. The usual story is that 19th Century gold miners encouraged planting of the trees as a quick-growing source of quality lumber, then were disappointed to find out that South African-grown eucs produce wood unsuitable for much besides rough fenceposts and firewood.
The stories have some factual basis: there was a speculative eucalyptus-planting rush in the first years of the 20th Century, with people planning uses from fine furniture to rot-resistant railroad ties. And the home-grown trees, which grew far more quickly than their Australian counterparts, did not turn out to make lousy timber! The logs were extensively used in our mining industry and to this day they are still popular as fence posts and roof timber.