The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has announced the winner of its 2018 Victorian Tree of the Year contest.
The Victorian Tree of the Year contest aims to raise awareness for the conservation of Victoria’s natural heritage, and the benefits that significant trees can provide. A monterey pine (Pinus radiata) at Mount Beckworth Scenic Reserve, affectionately known as the ‘”Lollipop Tree,” has been named the winner of this year’s contest.
“The contest is a chance to have some fun while further strengthening the communities connections with significant trees, and to promote the benefits that these majestic natural assets bring to our lives,” says Simon Ambrose, chief executive officer of the National Trust (Victoria).
The tree, which Ambrose describes as an ”iconic landmark,” can be seen from a distance of up to 50 km in most directions, and turns 100 years old this year. The tree’s memorable shape allegedly derives from the site’s particular World War II history. “The tree gets its unique lollipop shape following the removal of its lower branches during World War II, when the site was used for bomb-aiming sorties by RAAF pilots based at the Ballarat aerodrome,” says Ambrose.
The “Lollipop Tree” was voted the winner from a shortlist of nine trees selected by the National Trust’s expert committee from nominations received earlier in the year. Among the trees included in the shortlist were a large monterey cypress (Hesperocyparis macrocarpa) in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, the Swanpool Avenue of Honour noted for its unique use of bunya bunya pines (Araucaria bidwillii), a cork oak (Quercus suber) at Dunolly Railway Station, and an ada tree ( Eucalyptus regnans) in the Yarra Ranges.
The Victorian Tree of the Year contest was inaugurated in 2016, with a mountain ash,(Eucalyptus regnans) known as the “Kalatha Giant” – a symbol of bushfire survival for the Toolangi & Castella community after the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 – named the first winner.