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Tree trouble

WyndhamTHE REMOVAL of some of Wyndham’s oldest trees has angered local residents and historians.

Wyndham City Council is planning to remove 15 trees from the front of the Civic Centre on the Princes Highway.

Newspaper clippings from 1918 claim that some of the trees may be part of an Avenue of Honour established to honour Werribee’s WWI veterans.
At the opening ceremony of the Avenue, Cr Shaw, who was Shire President at the time, dedicated the planting of the trees to Werribee’s fallen war heroes.

“Nothing that could be done was too much for the splendid men who had done so much for Australia,” the clipping said.

One of the clippings from 1 August 1918 states that the first three trees planted would carry the names of Privates Latham, Conran and McTigue, as they were the first to enlist from the Shire.

But the Council has rejected claims that the trees they are removing were ever part of an Avenue of Honour.

“Whilst it is alleged that the planting of a Memorial Avenue in Werribee occurred after World War I, there is no available documented evidence of its exact location, or the species of trees that were planted. Some local residents suggest that the planting may have been along Duncans Rd,” acting CEO Bernie Cronin said.

“Wyndham City’s investigations into the matter have included discussions with Heritage Victoria and the Department of Planning and Community Development’s Veteran’s Heritage Unit.

“Information provided by Heritage Victoria indicates that their only record of an Avenue of Honour in Werribee was a planting that existed along Ballan Rd.”

The Council has also stated that according to arborists reports the trees are unsafe and residents are in danger of being injured by falling limbs.
President of Wyndham Heritage Recovery John Brodel said he was convinced the trees were part of an Avenue of Honour and as such should be protected.

“It’s disappointing that Council have taken this attitude that they can just remove trees if they want to,” he said.

“The trees in Werribee Park are in beautiful condition, why can’t they do the same thing with these?”

The Council however has maintained that the trees are unsafe. “Trees are living organisms and, like any living thing, they have a life span. Beyond a certain point they begin to fail.

These trees are now in serious decline and the risks to public safety of keeping them are such that the trees now need to be removed,” Mr Cronin said.

Story by Xavier Smerdon www.starnewsgroup.com.au

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