PROGRESS VS PRESERVATION
As I was researching the background story of the Ollington oak tree last week, I came across an article relating to an old oak tree in Somerset. While celebrating Arbor Day in 1903, children planted an oak tree in the grounds of the Somerset State School. A similar event occurred on 27 June 1887, when children of the same school planted an English oak in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s jubilee.
The spot chosen for the second tree was “within an enclosure which surrounds St Barnabas’ Church of England.” A boy and a girl were permitted to assist in planting the tree, each laying a shovelful of earth at the roots.
In July 2017, a group of Somerset residents campaigned to save the oak tree amid excavators and workers redeveloping the site of the old Somerset Primary School. According to the article in the Advocate, the tree was said to have been planted four decades ago.
The residents action group, Building Somerset’s Future, suggested that the Waratah-Wynyard Council consider purchasing the vacant lot where the tree stood and to turn it into an open space.
The Council responded, that the site did not meet the minimum requirements for it to consider the purchase due to its small size and close proximity to Anzac Park.
Later, in the Waratah-Wynyard Council’s masterplan published in September 2017, the Council was still insistent that it had no control over the fate of the tree and offered the following suggestions “to preserve some history:”
Controversial as it may be, I would be interested to hear whether they are ways to achieve both progress and preservation in areas of historical significance.
The oak tree that was in St Barnabas church grounds was unfortunately cut down last year by the new owner of the property
This is so sad. The jubilee tree would've been just on 130 years old.
Fortunately I have photos of the oak tree before it was cut down .A photo can be viewed in Somerset Now and Then Face book page.
Sadly today 27/8/2020 The remaining Oak tree situated in the former Somerset Primary School was destroyed when pushed over by a escavater
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