Volunteers save Banksia for future generations

Volunteers save Banksia for future generations

11/07/2023, 9:00 AM

An Edithvale Banksia, which toppled over Clydebank Road early Saturday morning, has been found by Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) Chelsea Unit volunteers to be a remnant of an ancient woodland.

The Banksia which fell at Edithvale last Saturday stood on the site for more than a century (photo credit: VICSES)

The volunteers arrived at 10:00am to discover the massive tree had landed beside a block of units, with the Banksia having landed in the garden. As it had only blocked an adjoining driveway, the volunteers were able to preserve the trunk; having trimmed the branches and moved them to the garden which left more of the tree to be recovered.

If a tree is a remnant, it means that it is a native tree which remained on the landscape after removal of most, or all, native vegetation in its immediate vicinity. The landmark tree had been known to Edithvale residents for over a century, so when the volunteers posted about its demise, one local woman suggested they recover the seed pods and allow the tree to live on.

Lesley Smart, and her husband Jason, have been volunteers at the Carrum Indigenous Nursery for six years. They jumped at the chance to recover the pods.

The couple were fully aware of the significance of the tree to the area and its special place in Edithvale’s history.

Jason and Lesley from the local Indigenous nursery work to recover viable seeds from the tree (photo credit: VICSES)

The Carrum Indigenous Nursery volunteers have been able to collect and identify 100 viable seeds from this Banksia’s, so that its story will continue for many centuries to come.

The VICSES volunteers have also worked to distribute the green Banksia flowers to local kindergartens and primary schools to use as brushes for painting, as they have been by Indigenous Australian artists since time immemorial.

Jason and Lesley from the local Indigenous nursery work to recover viable seeds from the tree (photo credit: VICSES)

Quote attributable to Carrum Indigenous Nursery volunteer, Lesley Smart:

“We were so thrilled that the VICSES Chelsea Unit volunteers took the time to call us and give us the opportunity to collect the seed pods.”

“Even if we only had only one seedling to take, that would still guarantee this beautiful old tree’s history lives on.”

VICSES Chelsea Unit crew leader, Ian McAlavey:

“From our point of view, it had a perfect landing, given that the building had not been hit."

“There were some nests in the tree which did suffer, so a few birds local to Edithvale will be house-hunting this winter.”