HISTORIC Horry’s Tree on Melrose Street, Leederville — the only tree saved when the Mitchell Freeway came bowling through — is to get stronger heritage protection.
The Moreton Bay fig was planted by dairyman Horace Thompson next to his family home in October 1815. He left for the Great War three months later, hoping to see how big it had grown when he returned, but was killed by a shell at the Battle of Passchendaele.
His wife Lily was said to have “died of a broken heart” within a year of the news, but over the decades neighbour Dorothy Jenkins stood vigil over his tree, staving off attempts to cut it down.
The most serious logging attempt came in the 1970s when every other tree in the area was felled by Main Roads for the freeway.
Mr Thompson’s grandniece Fay Maughan compiled a history of the tree back in 2014: “Dorothy was the keeper of that tree… Dorothy used to go down there every day and make sure they didn’t bulldoze it,” she wrote.
Ms Jenkins died June 2014 at 94, just before Ms Maughan’s history was completed and given a Vincent local history award.
Vincent council will classify the tree “category B” in its heritage inventory, meaning it’s not allowed to be touched without the council’s approval.
by DAVID BELL