Thursday, 8 February 2024

For over 100 years the Mona Vale Victory Tree has stood sentry at the site of the original local Methodist Church on Pittwater Road.

Planted in 1920 to commemorate the end of World War I and honour of the many fallen soldiers, the tree has succumbed to the insidious Armillaria Root Rot disease.

Situated on private property, Council has worked with the property owner trying several treatments to save the tree. Over an eight-month period these treatments, recommended by Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens PlantClinic, were tested on the tree without success.  

Council is now planning to plant another symbolic tree nearby as we are unable to plant in the same location due to soil contamination.

The century-old Holly Oak (Quercus ilex), an evergreen oak, was one of the remaining few of the original 200 trees planted across NSW under a Methodist Youth program, supplied with the assistance of Mr J H Maiden, Chief Botanist at Sydney Botanical Gardens.

The aim of the planting was for the relatives and friends of those who died to have a place to leave flowers and acknowledge their loved ones in the absence of a grave site.

Northern Beaches Council’s Heritage Officer is assisting with guidance on preserving the tree’s heritage value.

Around 420,000 Australians enlisted for service in WWI with approximately 60,000 dying in this conflict and not returning home. At the time Australia was estimated to have a total population of under 5 million people so the number of enlisted equated to 38.7 per cent of Australia’s male population between the ages of 18 and 44. (Australian War Memorial)