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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Council remove Mullum fig tree

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A significant decline in the condition of the crown and an increase in the decay and fungal infection areas in the lower trunk has led to the removal of one of Mullumbimby’s much loved fig trees. Photo Aslan Shand.

A large fig tree at the intersection of Dalley Street and Jubilee Avenue in Mullumbimby was removed on Wednesday September 2 because of the risk it posed to pedestrians and drivers.

Council staff say an arborist assessment again determined that it had deteriorated to the point where it was a risk and needed to be removed.

Open Space Technical Officer Andy Erskine said in recent months there had been a significant decline in the condition of the crown, and an increase in the decay and fungal infection areas in the lower trunk.

He said, ‘The Slime fungus is normally only a problem for trees that are distressed and unfortunately I think the dry weather in December and January really took a toll on this tree, Mr Erskine said.

‘An arborist has again assessed the tree and his professional opinion now is that it has deteriorated to the point where it is a risk and needs to be removed.’

Celebrating Mullum ceding from Byron Shire…

This tree and many others were planted by the Mullumbimby High School children in 1958 long time local Barry Lomath told Echonetdaily.

‘In 1908 Mullumbimby broke away from the Byron Shire and 1958 was the Jubilee.’

The street from the location of this fig tree down to the Cop-op was renamed Jubilee Avenue to mark the fifty years of Mullumbimby being ‘the biggest little town in Australia’. Previously that stretch of road had been a continuation of Dalley Street.

‘There were fig trees planted down both sides of the street,’ said Barry.

Jubilee gates were also installed at the oval, now named the Barry Lomath Oval, opposite the High School, to mark the occasion.

‘Most of the figs are gone now. They caused a range of problems with roots damaging houses, footpaths and roads,’ said Barry.

‘When they were planted there was no swimming pool, when that was put in and then there was a footpath put in many of trees were removed.’

Mullumbimby was brought back into the fold of Byron Shire Council in 1980.

Another tree to be planted

‘Council is very aware of the importance our community places on the natural environment, particularly trees, but the last thing we want is for this tree to drop limbs unexpectedly on vehicles or pedestrians’, said Mr Erskine.

‘Our priority always has to be the safety of our community.

‘If suitable, the timber from the fig tree will be saved and incorporated into projects around the Byron Shire. 

‘Another tree will also be planted to replace the fig. Before planting anything we will need to ascertain through testing that the soil is not infected with the pathogen that is killing the fig. A replacement fig would be appropriate but if it is deemed as risky to use the same species we may propose a different local native species that has similar attributes of broad canopy and deep shade.’


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10 COMMENTS

  1. Has an arborist’s report ever recommended saving a tree?. Never has happened. They all want the work chopping it down and clearing it away. They hate trees

    • But when a branch snaps and lands on a car,house or pedestrians it’s councils fault for not taking any action.plenty of other trees in the Byron shire. This one in particular was an accident waiting to happen.

  2. Strange that the Byron Shire Council did not try watering this tree, on a regular basis. It is an historical landmark. Instead, humans build roads right up to its base and starves it of nutrients. Then, find a ‘convenient’ excuse to justify cutting it down. Risk management gone mad, as fig trees stand for many hundreds of years, in shallow-rooted glory in forests. The only illness involved, is the madness of spreading the risk assessment of political expedience to trees. This majestic tree was conveniently ‘disappeared’, to make road maintenance easier. That is my definition of madness and at the heart of World-wide deforestation.

  3. We are with you brothers and sisters down here on the mornington peninsula setting up a survival property for man because the authorities cant see where we are headed. Lots of human good stuff mind you , why not given the choice. Authorities dont seem to have the brains to work it out. Not high echelon deep thinkers just peroquial local employ your mates and family type of people exactly the same as here and probably everywhere.
    Thats Aus local councils.
    Good luck to you guys we all push it uphill with the local council directives.

  4. There are local steel fabrication company’s who could easily have been contracted to make some vertical supports for the bigger branches. I really wonder if it was in that bad a condition and how big the risk really was

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