Mandurah Christ’s Church Anglican Church’s historic carob tree to be cut down

The historic carob tree.
The historic carob tree.

THE historic carob tree that fronts Mandurah’s Christ’s Church Anglican Church will no longer cast its shadow over the graves of pioneers.

By tonight, the tree, planted by a returning soldier from World War I in 1918, will be a pile of giant logs.

The tree and two others, one removed prior to development of Woolworths carpark and one still remaining in Creery Street, were planted almost 100 years ago by Private Lancel Butcher from Pinjarra in honour of his fallen comrades, including his brother Leonard, killed in action in 1917 and buried at Villers-Bretoneux.

Private Butcher worked in a stable near the church before he enlisted and planted the seeds where he could see them grow.

The community was angry about the proposal to remove the tree, as were church members.

“The church is devastated but what can we do?’’ church warden Susan Davies said.

Three large limbs fell six weeks ago and an independent arborist was called in and found the integrity of the tree had gone and it was rotten inside.

“There was no guarantee of its safety and pedestrians tend to cut the corner beneath the tree,’’ Ms Davies said.

The church advertised the wood and Mandurah Woodcarvers Group has already removed some trailer loads.

Mandurah RSL is also believed to be interested in a big limb for its proposed new clubhouse.

The significance of the Creery Street carob, commemorated with the unveiling of a plaque two years ago, came to the notice of the City of Mandurah when a long time Creery Street resident, the late Doris Young, mentioned to another resident how the tree came to exist.

She had recalled that when she was young, three carob trees were propagated from seeds brought back from the Mediterranean, planted in Mandurah and nurtured by a soldier keen to perpetuate the memory of those who had died.

Seeds propagated from the Creery Street original have been planted at the Mandurah War Memorial and given to school groups.