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Bittersweet end for Dookie sugar gum

Dookie has lost one of its oldest features.

JENNA BISHOP April 26, 2014 5:09am

Time is up: Dookie's iconic 120-year-old sugar gum tree was cut down on Thursday after it was discovered the tree was dying.


 

The thump of falling branches and buzzing of chainsaws echoed the end of an era for Dookie’s iconic sugar gum tree.

The 120-year-old tree has been a feature of Dookie’s Mary St for as long as locals can remember.

But on Thursday it was scheduled for the chopping block after being found to be dying.

For the residents, it was bittersweet — while they are losing the tree, its branches and trunk will be preserved.

The trunk will be carved into a special community sculpture, while the branches are expected to be used in a special artistic performance.

Dookie resident Janie Christophersen said it was sad to see such an iconic part of Dookie gone.

 

‘‘It’s really sad that it’s dying and that it has to be cut down,’’ she said.

‘‘But it’s really so positive and I’m so happy that it can be transformed into something the whole community can enjoy.

‘‘It’s a legacy for the future. It means we have something to look forward to in the future.’’

 

Long-time resident Margaret Feldtmann said the community would miss the tree.

‘‘It’s the heart of Dookie, really,’’ she said. ‘‘You’d go down the street and the tree was a beautiful sight, it was something that you wouldn’t really see in other towns.’’

 

Mrs Feldtmann said the tree had a rich history.

‘‘We used to park in the shade when we came into town. Dookie never had any water until 1970 and so there weren’t many trees, so shade was at a premium,’’ she said. ‘‘The tree has seen a lot of things.’’

Greater Shepparton City Council infrastructure director Steve Bowmaker said the tree appeared to have been in distress for the past two years.

‘‘We’ve been in consultation with the Dookie community for nine months after we had the tree independently assessed and we found out it was on its last legs,’’ he said.

Mr Bowmaker said it was important for the tree to be returned to the community.

‘‘We recognise that it’s an important tree to the community and worthy of special treatment,’’ he said.

He said the council had been told more than 30 per cent of the tree had already died.

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