HERITAGE | Historic tree is now listed

Lisa Trauntner said it means everything that Carramar’s historic BlandOak has been listed on the National Register of Significant Trees.

The Bland Oak in OakdenePark is one of Sydney’s oldest trees and has been a Fairfield icon since it was planted more than 150 years ago.

The tree is on the cover of Ms Trauntner’s closed Facebook group, Growing up in good old Carramar, Villawood, Fairfield & Surrounds, where a post caught the eye of Fairfield mayor FrankCarbone calling for the tree to be recognised nationally after the council recognised its local significance in the Local Environmental Plan in 2013.

In April, the council applied to the National Trust of Australia to have the iconic tree put onto the register. Last week this was approved by the Trust board which automatically gives it national status. “It means so much to us and the community. Now it’s a little national treasure,” Ms Trauntner said. “It means everything to have it listed. It’s been protected on a local level for a long time but to have it nationally recognised ensures its long-term survival.”

When Ms Trauntner, who now lives on the Sunshine Coast, was growing up at Carramar, the oak was the setting for many games, activities and a chance to replicate Robin Hood. She wasn’t alone. Her grandson LukasSullivan, 2, is the fifth generation of her family to play on the tree which is now propped up by iron struts.

She said the tree – which stands about 13 metres tall with a spread of more than 30 metres – typifies the Fairfield region. “Our Facebook group motto was inspired by the tree: ‘My roots begin here but my branches spread far and wide.’.”

Dr William Bland planted it about 1842 and it’s the last remains of his Mark Lodge.​ He arrived here as a convict and was a politician, surgeon, farmer and inventor. Apparently, it was planted from a seed that may have been given him by one of his botanically minded friends, such as William Wentworth.

It was the largest tree in Australia until it split in a storm early on New Year’s Day in 1941, believed to be from lightning and the huge weight of wet leaves.

Mr Carbone said the oak represents a significant part of Fairfield’s heritage. “I thank the residents of Carramar and Villawood, particularly Lisa Trauntner, for contacting me to ask that it be listed,” he said. “Its unique shape tells a story of hardship, endurance and healing – a story that many of us can relate to.” 

It means everything to have it listed.

LISA TRAUNTNER

The tree was thoroughly tested and its exact species confirmed as Quercus virginiana, known as Live Oak in the US. The Live Oak can live for up to 300 years.

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