Iconic flame tree survives after flight in Leongatha


Iconic flame tree survives after flight in Leongatha

READY TO BLOOM: Richard Lester is delighted his treasured Illawara flame tree continues to thrive in the Aldi carpark after being relocated in 2014.


RICHARD Lester loves his trees and he could not be happier.

The Illawara flame tree he and Thelma Arnup lobbied to save from being chopped is holding up well.

The iconic tree was relocated within the site of the Aldi supermarket in Leongatha in 2014, after facing the prospect of being lopped and lost for eternity.

“It’s just powering on with brand new growth,” Mr Lester said.

“It’s a miracle that we saved this tree.”

He and Ms Arnup joined a specialist arborist team to see the tree – then aged more than 100 years – moved on the Bruce Street site.

It had grown in a backyard that was to be consumed by the new supermarket.

Mr Lester was delighted when the tree sprouted new flowers in its first year in its new location.

“It’s just so rare. It’s really a tropical tree that probably usually grows 500km north of Gippsland and to find it growing really healthily in South Gippsland was just absolutely amazing,” he said.

“It’s putting on healthy growth. It flowers in summer and will have these blood red flowers so the pavement will be covered in blood red blossom.”

As a Vietnam veteran, gardening and nature have been part of Mr Lester’s therapy.

According to the Mardan resident, the tree was planted by the girl Rosie Blackmore in the backyard of her family home.

“Over the following 100 years, it grew into the most grand, unusual and beautiful giant, with a smooth, fat trunk and intermittent, blood red summer flowers,” he said.

“After many years, when Rosie became old and sadly died, her flame tree bravely and proudly lived on, thankful of Rosie’s loving, lifetime friendship. Rosie had left her mark on the world.”

More than a century later, when it came time for the tree to be moved, it was lifted by crane to its current location, its precious roots wrapped up tight.

“It is a human miracle that Rosie’s 100 year old flame tree remains one of the oldest trees in our country town and it makes us all happy, especially the day we saw it fly safely to its new home,” Mr Lester said.

“Trees can grow into gentle giants, the biggest living, precious organisms in the whole wide world.

“They create a unique and priceless ecosystem that sustains a healthy and happy world environment.”




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Posted by on Nov 19 2019. Filed under Community, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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