As two of the oldest members of the community, Thomas Wilkins and Jane Ollington were nominated to plant the coronation oak, one at Forest and the other on the Esplanade at Smithton. Both Jane and Thomas were diligent in tending to their respective acorn until it began to germinate.
There was much fanfare when Jane’s sapling grew six inches in five months.
When the day came to transplant the oak saplings on Arbor Day in 1939, Thomas Wilkins, being old and frail, nominated his brother-in-law, Edward Vale, to take his place. Warden M Sampson drove Edward Vale to Forest where the young oak tree was planted.
Jane Ollington had already planted her oak tree on the Esplanade at Smithton on 28 July 1938. On this occasion, the event was low key with Warden Sampson and his wife, and a few close relatives in attendance.
In 1953, eleven years after Jane Ollington passed away, the Smithton Progress and Tourist Association stated that the Jane’s oak on the Esplanade was making good growth and suggested that an inscribed tablet be affixed for public information.
It is not known if this ever came to fruition.
Somehow or other I am not inclined to believe the plaque pictured above is the original version as there is no mention of the "coronation" as seen in similar examples below. Plus the wording of the plaque seem to suggest that it was Jane who brought the acorn from the gardens of the Windsor Castle.
Secondly, the plaque states that Jane Ollington planted the tree at Forest, which is not correct. It is also incorrect that the tree was planted in 1850.
However, the most glaring error are the dates relating to birth and marriage. Jane married William Poke on 24 March 1869.
Footnote: In 2013, the Circular Head Council released a draft Landscape Development Plan recommending that a plaque be affixed to the oak tree on the Esplanade and that genetic “offspring” be planted along the East Esplanade roadway and other connecting streets.
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