There was a time when a giant candlebark eucalypt spanned the boundary between 86 and 88 East Street – preceding the subdivision into suburban size blocks. Local memory has it that the tree had been planted some 70 years ago by a little girl who lived nearby.
The tree was huge and something of a landmark, but not noteworthy as a rare species or for any other reason that might have had it protected. It was the favourite hangout for several hundred sulphur crested cockatoos and corellas.
The owner of one of the properties became concerned that a branch might fall and damage his house. The owner of the other property resisted for several years, but ultimately, in the face of compelling arborists’ reports, consented to have the tree severely pruned and ringbarked. Being such a large tree, the process took most of a day. The birds screamed their protest, wheeling in clouds across the sky for hours. Ultimately the saws fell silent. And so did the birds. The stump remains – standing 15 metres with lopped branches. Quite dead.
The recent catastrophic damage to local trees has highlighted their importance to the local community.
Many local trees have a special significance both for Indigenous people and Europeans who occupied the area from the 1800s onward. They are tied to our cultural heritage. Not surprisingly, campaigns have been fought to protect and preserve them.
Daylesford and Hepburn Springs have magnificent trees on public and private land. Some are outstanding and there is a Shire significant tree register.
Unfortunately the register has not been updated in the last decade.
The tree register is meant to collect information on significant trees on private and public land so they can be protected. Significant trees include indigenous and introduced species showing outstanding characteristics such as size, shape and history that set them apart from surrounding trees.
There are a number of historic trees on public land that are covered by heritage protection. This includes many of Daylesford’s parks and gardens – in particular, the conservation plan for the Wombat Botanical Gardens
But only four trees in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs on private land are registered for protection. There must be others.
Unfortunately, Council is unable to address this issue at present. Bradley Thomas, Shire CEO said, “Our staff are tied up with the emergency response. We will provide a detailed response in relation to the tree register in the coming weeks, but are not in a position to provide further comment at this stage.”
In the meantime if you have a tree your property or you know of any on private land locally that you think should be on the tree register let us know, and include a picture if you can.