Brisbane City Botanic Gardens and the New National Trust Significant Tree Database/App
Guest blogger: Margaret Munro - Volunteer, City Botanic Gardens
Queensland has many outstanding trees. The 2,000 year old Antarctic Beech Trees (Nothofagus moorei) on the Springbrook plateau – relics of Gondwana, beautiful Norfolk Pines (Araucaria heterophylla) which cluster along the coastline and 500 year old Strangler Figs (Ficus macrocarpa) in the Atherton Tableland rainforests are just a few examples. However, to see some of our state’s significant historic trees, one needs to go no further than the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens - sometimes referred to as the ‘Cradle of Horticulture in Queensland’.
A visit to the Gardens in Alice Street could find you standing under the first cultivated Macadamia Nut Tree (Macadamia integrifolia) which resulted from trials in 1858 and lead to the development of Australia’s only native plant-based export industry. A stroll along the river path will find you gazing up at more than a score of mature Bunya Pines (Araucaria bidwillii) which were planted between 1858 and 1867 by the Garden’s first curator, Walter Hill, to honour John Carne Bidwill who is commemorated in their scientific name.
On the opposite side of the Gardens, adjacent to Gardens Point QUT, the path leads past a Cook Pine (Araucaria columnaris) which, at approximately 45 meters, is the tallest tree in the Gardens. This tree was planted in 1868 by Queen Victoria’s oldest son, Prince Albert, later King Edward VII. Following its planting, Prince Albert survived an assassination attempt in Sydney on his journey home. Also along this path you will pass one of the most magnificent tree that you could ever hope to see. It is an Indian Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis) whose large prop roots have spread out and entered the ground to support its new branches forming a forest of interconnecting ‘trunks’ altogether measuring an astounding 49 meters in circumference.
The National Trusts of Australia have developed a new database/application to be officially launched in Melbourne on 11 August. This app is for use on all computers, tablets and mobile phones and its purpose is to help people locate, find information about, or nominate for identification, significant trees around Australia. Volunteers and staff at the National Trust of Queensland have uploaded approximately half of the known records of significant trees in Queensland and hope to encourage individuals and groups to submit new nominations to the website. The website’s address is www.trusttrees.org.au.