Not just a pop

The 130-year old cork tree is but a stump today.

A CORK oak tree thought to be sold old it was likely planted by Afghan cameleers opening up WA’s goldfields, has been felled by a Mt Pleasant home owner.

The Reynolds Road tree was assessed by the National Trust in 2014 as having local significance “on par” with the ancient cork in Tenterfield, NSW, now a tourist attraction.

“The tree is located in an area which was virgin banksia forest at the time of planting,” the Trust’s listing notes.

“It has survived the development and gentrification of the area to the point that it is now located on one of the few remaining quarter-acres in the locality.


“It is likely to have grown from an acorn contained in imported feed given to feed camels who worked on a track through this area from the Fremantle Port.”

The report said it was possibly the “most impressive” cork oak in Perth.

“It is in good health and excepting destruction during future developments of the site, should live another century or two.”

But it only lasted another six years, with the chainsaws coming in this week after the block’s recent sale.

The Chook was alerted to the tree’s heritage by local resident David, who was angry it had not been protected.

“Terrible to keep losing what little history we have,” he said.

“The tree was close tot he road verge, which would have made it easier to have kept it.

“Nothing will bring the tree back, however bringing it to public attention may stop similar actions in the future.”

Melville CEO Marten Tieleman said city officers were aware of the tree and agreed it was a great loss to the street, the community and the tree canopy.

“Trees are one of our most important assets, contributing greatly to our urban forest, keeping our streets cooler, helping us adapt to climate change and also contribute to the beautifying of our streets and neighbourhoods,” Mr Tieleman said.

“While some local governments do have policies in place for the management of trees on private land, there is no current legislation in WA that actually provides for the protection of trees on private property, which makes such policies very difficult to enforce in real terms.”

According to English folklore, the felling of the tree during the Covid-19 outbreak couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Corks were known as “The Wishing Tree” during the Great Plague of London in 1665, and were thought to have powers that brought luck to those who performed certain rituals. People would come from all parts of the country to walk three times around a cork tree while wishing for better health, fortune or a husband or wife.


One response to “Not just a pop

  1. “For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

    Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

    A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

    A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

    When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

    A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

    So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
    Herman Hess

    Was it just a tree?
    I hope the new owners will not suffer the fact they killed that splendid cork oak, that splendid monument of your country.
    I hope the dryads will not punish them.
    Greetings from Sardinia

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