• Tony Bosworth

Locals stump up ideas for new Bowen Mountain tree to replace iconic shady oak

You might well have played in this tree when you were a nipper, sat under it on a hot summer’s day, even had your wedding pictures taken with the shady old oak as a backdrop. But back just before Christmas, this giant spreading oak tree in Bowen Mountain park with so many memories for locals over so many decades had to be taken down. Lightning had struck it, several limbs were split, exposing its insides old and rotten.

So Bowen Mountain lost a landmark loved by many but in its place a new tree is going to be planted, and the Bowen Mountain Park Committee are asking for suggestions.

No-one is exactly sure how old the oak was but on Facebook, locals - and even those from further afield - have been sharing their stories, with many going back 50 years or more.

Cilla Lavender said, “ I have grown up all my life with that tree from the age of four till now 51. It brings tears to my eyes to even think of it gone. What could replace it? Nothing !!!”

Hawkesbury councillor Nathan Zamprogno said he remembered climbing the old tree when he was a boy, a story familiar to many locals who scrambled up into its broad branches.

The mighty oak was the backdrop for numerous events over the years. Pic: Emma Gabriel

Bowen Mountain resident Louise Hawkins is secretary of the Bowen Mountain Park Management Committee (BMPMC) and she’s been putting the word out for people to let the committee know what should be planted in the old oak’s place.

As many of you are now aware, recently the beautiful large shady oak, that many admired when they visit the park, lost a few limbs which unfortunately uncovered a significant health problem and sadly for the safety of park users it had to be removed,” said Ms Hawkins.

“In the past it has been utilised as a beautiful backdrop for many wedding ceremonies, naming days, family photos, and parties and it will be greatly missed by many locals.

“We are investigating what we may be able to put in her place - or close by- in the hopes that it too will grow to be just as beautiful.

“We value the community’s thoughts and would like your feedback, on what you think may make a valuable addition in her place.”

Suggestions already floated include another oak, fruit trees, a persimmon, Moreton Bay Fig, even a community garden, with local bird photographer David C Simon saying angophoras, “that are native to this area that grow quite large, produce hollows for birds and possums, and are quite beautiful. I've been sad to see a few old ones cut down recently and it’d be nice to plant a new one”.

One resident even thought a wind turbine could be a great 21st century addition to the park in place of a new tree.

To get your suggestions in, visit the BMPMC Facebook page, or email bowenmountainpark@gmail.com

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