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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Iconic Chinderah fig removed

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Workmen removing the longstanding Chinderah fig to a stump. Photo Tania Phillips

Staff reporters

A 135-year-old fig that has stood outside the Chinderah Tavern as long as anyone can remember was cut down yesterday after owners abandoned further attempts to save the tree.

The owners said that despite previous attempts by arborists to save the tree its condition had continued to deteriorate and that it posed a serious threat.

But Tweed Greens councillor Katie Milne said that she blamed the other councillors for the tree’s demise.

‘I hold the six other councillors personally responsible for the loss of this 135-plus-year-old White Fig tree at the Chinderah Tavern, and for failing in their legal obligations to protect this heritage item known to be at risk,’ she said this morning

‘When this removal issue first came up in September 2010 council commissioned an independent arborist report that seriously questioned the claims of tree health and their removal option.

‘Council also commissioned an independent heritage study which found conclusive heritage significance.

‘Despite this advice all six councillors refused my requests three times over the years to heritage-list this tree.

She said the Taphouse did not provide their arborist report to council or even let council know of the removal beforehand.

Tweed mayor Barry Longland said council staff asked for the work to stop so that council’s arborist could examine the tree, given it was only a few months ago that pruning work had been done.

He told ABC radio this morning that it was ‘gut wrenching’ to see the tree removed.

Ms Milne said an option previously identified by Council’s consultants could have saved the tree.

‘If the tree needed support, which only further investigation could verify, it could be easily braced, as occurs in the Brisbane CBD in very high-use public areas.’



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  1. I guess the Tavern actually just wants more parking spaces, as the photo clearly shows that the tree wood is healthy. How sad that a beautiful, shady, iconic heritage tree has less value than a couple more car parking spaces to help sell a bit more alcohol.

  2. Make more sence to move the pub and leave the tree would make a beautiful park that spot. As to previous comment I agree more parking so more drnk drivers and where would we be without such great Aussie activities as drinking and gambling?

  3. I hope the Tavern owners are prosecuted and fined to the hilt. A stretch in the clink might also stop others from doing such vandalism. If more parking is available because of its removal, then it should not be allowed. And replanting of significant advanced approved species should also be on the Tavern’s head.

  4. This is disgusting this Council could not save this 135 year old tree by giving it heritage listing.
    I was there last Thursday with friends from Sydney, remarking on the fig’s beauty and heritage, not knowing it would be the last time I would see it.

  5. Hi
    I agree with the comments re the apparent healthy wood visible in the photo. Whilst hard to actually assess the whole tree visibly, there is an obvious lack of decay present. I’ve had over 30 years experience in urban tree management, and know the risks, but also know there are lots of techniques that could have saved the tree. I find it interesting that the contractors removed most of the butt – makes it hard to confirm the presence of decay. At least Cr Milne tried to protect it – too bad about the other Councillors!

  6. We do not have the Tree Preservation Laws that we need in this area to protect such special trees as this one. In Sydney they make sure that old iconic trees with heritage values are protected by good TP Laws as they realise the importance of these treasures.

  7. Wouldn’t it be great if it sprouted new growth! Still, it would take another 135 years to return to its former glory.


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