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Significant trees being assessed for heritage value

Latrobe City Council is undertaking a study of significant trees throughout the municipality to introduce a degree of protection through the planning scheme against unnecessary removal or destruction.

By Latrobe City - 31st March 2003 - Back to News

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Latrobe City Council is undertaking a study of significant trees throughout the municipality to introduce a degree of protection through the planning scheme against unnecessary removal or destruction.

Latrobe City’s Senior Strategic Planner, Elaine Wood, said the trees are being assessed on their scientific, aesthetic, historical and cultural values, with the study covering indigenous and introduced species.

"The region offers a considerable number of pockets of remnant bushland and individual native specimens. Many were once endemic to the woodland and grasslands hugging the Latrobe River valley, and the foothills of the Strzeleckis and Great Dividing Range prior to European settlement. However, these days they can be quite rare," Ms Wood explained.

"A number of trees also reflect the development of the region in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as early settlers made their mark on the land, planting specimen trees around their homesteads for shade, as a source of food, or even to remind them of the countries they had left behind," Ms Wood explained.

Parks Officer John Ruyg, said the specimen trees originally came from all over the world, from Europe, the Americas, Northern Asia, the Mediterranean, China and Japan. However, they particularly aroused the interest of European botanists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries like Sir Joseph Banks, and as new species were discovered, seed was collected, taken to arboretums such as at Kew, and soon began to grace the gardens of Europe. After European settlement in Australia, these specimen trees followed.

"The location of some older trees can often tell a tale of the people who went before. The people who planted them had a certain quality of foresight, because in many cases they must have known that they would never themselves live to see 'their' tree grow to its full potential. Perhaps they were planted more for others, who would come later, to enjoy. While in many cases buildings and people have long gone, a small group of trees, an avenue or even a solitary specimen tree can sometimes signify a heritage link to a school, farm or even a community that once existed.

Cr Lisa Price said many of the district’s notable trees were in parks and reserves, while others were on private properties. "Trees in both types of locations qualify for inclusion on the heritage list if they meet the criteria," Cr Price stressed.

Mr Ruyg said that in Moe there are a number of areas featuring native trees such as the Edward Hunter Reserve. "However there are also some magnificent specimen trees. An English Oak opposite the Moe Courthouse is well established, while there are a number of significant trees on private property, such as a palm tree and a Liquidamber in Moore Street," he said.

Some trees have historic significance. On the western side of Albert Street School there is a stunted Aleppo Pine which gives a link with the battlefields of Gallipoli, where Australian and New Zealand troops landed on 25 April 1915.

A plateau in Gallipoli that was covered in low scrub was the scene of extremely heavy fighting, where more that 2000 men from the First Australian Division and nearly 5000 Turkish soldiers were killed. A lone Aleppo Pine stood on the plateau and gradually that part of the plateau where it grew became known as ‘Lone Pine’. One of the soldiers took a cone from the pine tree home as a souvenir and many years later five seedlings were grown from the seeds within. One of the seedlings was planted near the Shrine of Remembrance, and seed from that tree produced the Aleppo Pine at Albert Street School.

"While most of the significant trees in our parks and reserves will be recognised and nominated by our own Council staff, we also welcome nominations from the public. There are a considerable number of trees in private gardens in places such as schools, and on private farm properties that individuals know about, and take pride in, that should be included on the tree heritage register. Council will welcome nominations from citizens to identify these trees," Ms Wood added.

Nomination forms are available from Council’s Citizen Service Centres in Traralgon, Morwell and Moe, or can be downloaded from the Latrobe City website, or by telephoning 1300 367 700.


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