Branching out: Readers reveal their favourite Melbourne trees

By Paul Pennay

The lemon scented gum trees near Melbourne University in Parkville were very popular with Age readers. Credit: Eddie Jim

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A s part of a recent feature on the landmark trees of Melbourne, we asked readers to weigh in on the list of 11 majestic specimens our reporters had compiled.

We were inundated with replies. More than 900 people took part in the poll we created, and the golden elm at the corner of Punt Road and Alexandra Parade, in South Yarra, emerging as the crowd favourite, garnering a quarter of all votes lodged.

We also received close to 100 responses – from readers aged 8 to those in their 80s – nominating some beauties that didn’t make the cut on our first sweep of the city’s grand trees.

While some readers took us to task for the lack of native trees on the list and others picked us up for overlooking wondrous specimens we’d written about in the past, most loved the original list and were happy to share their own favourites with us.

Here is an edited list of the trees Age readers hold in high esteem.

College Crescent roundabout gums

While Moreton Bay figs spotted across the city were very popular, the clear winner of the popular vote were the pair of lemon-scented gums (corymbia citriodora) that stand tall on the roundabout separating Melbourne Cemetery from Melbourne University’s Queen’s College.

Over a dozen readers noted the magnificence of these eucalypts and some, like Bernadette Fallon, declared them most beautiful trees in Melbourne, noting their lovely scent when the weather is right.

Bernadette Gray said the gums always lifted her spirits, even when she’s stuck in traffic in the perennially congested thoroughfare.

A large tree near the native grassland circle at Royal Park.Credit: Claire Biscombe

Other trees in Parkville also garnered support, with Rod Keenan nominating the London plane tree in the courtyard behind the 1888 building at the University of Melbourne, and Claire Biscombe backing the large tree near the grass circle at Royal Park that has the seat under it, noting it’s a nice spot to sit.

Bulleen river red gum/Caltex tree

Robert Labuc cited the “amazing resilience” of the 300-year-old river red gum (eucalyptus camaldulensis) on Manningham Road, Bulleen when nominating it for a spot on the podium.

The tree, located next to a former Caltex service station, had been earmarked for felling owing to the construction of an interchange for the North East Link, but was granted a reprieve after a campaign to save it.

The grand old tree, which is 20 metres high and has a trunk circumference of six metres, was also voted Victorian tree of the year in 2019.

The 300-year-old eucalyptus in Bulleen that was once earmarked for felling.Credit: Joe Armao

Williamstown golden elm

Readers Jo Sloggett and Susan Ryan both have a soft spot for the golden elm at Williamstown Botanic Gardens, with the latter noting many weddings, parties and picnics take place beneath its boughs.

The golden elm at Williamstown Botanic Gardens.Credit: Susan Ryan

Moreton Bay figs

Who doesn’t love the imposing grandeur of a Moreton Bay fig? Berni nominated the specimen in Carlton Gardens, wile Noel told us about the one in Bridge Road, Richmond, not far from the Xavier College boat shed.

Sean O’Conner pointed us in the direction of the big fig about 200 metres upstream from where the Walmer Street footbridge crosses the Yarra in Abbotsford, while Maurice Manno wanted us to know about the big fig on the corner of Fitzroy Street and the Upper Esplanade at St Kilda.

A beautiful Moreton Bay fig at Logan Park, Altona. Credit: Steve Innes

Steve Innes and Brennan Carlson sang the praises of the Moreton Bay fig in Logan Park, Altona (pictured above).

Brighton Grammar oak

Perhaps inspired by our inclusion of the “friendship tree” at St Monica’s Catholic Primary School in Footscray in our original list, Mark Johnston put forward the oak tree in the quadrangle of Brighton Grammar School as a contender.

The oak tree in the quadrangle at Brighton Grammar School.Credit: Mark Johnston

Ashburton angophra

Kathy Baker wanted to put a Burwood gum tree on the map. She said often admired its stunning, smooth trunk and beautiful shape when waiting to turn on to Warrigal Road at the Bath Road T-intersection.

J.Robinson is also a fan of the same tree, and also nominated the angophra outside Ashburton Library on High Street, Ashburton.

Cheltenham Park cypress

Megan recommended two magnificent cypress trees in Cheltenham Park. She said they’re near the train station and one of them has the most gorgeous, tortoise-shell bark pattern.

Avenue of eucalypts in Northcote

Donna Bourke wanted to up the line of eucalypts (pictured below) along Gladstone Avenue in Northcote. She said the trees were about 80 years old and that residents had been engaged in a six-year campaign to keep them.

An avenue of eucalypts in Northcote.Credit: Donna Bourke

Readers also nominated various trees beyond the city’s boundaries. Hopefully, our reporters will be able to put together of regional Victoria’s best trees soon.

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