Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Councillor Larry Whipper has today expressed his disappointment at the destruction of a community tree intended to promote peace and harmony.
Located in Bowral’s Settlers Park, the Children’s Tree of Hope was originally planted in 2001 following the attacks on the World Trade Center and subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Following poor health the tree was replaced in 2014.
“Considering the tree was still quite young it’s hard to believe the damage caused was anything but a deliberate act of vandalism,” said the Mayor.
“What’s more upsetting is that the tree was planted and clearly marked with a plaque at its base as a symbol of hope to all children at a very turbulent time in our history.”
“I find myself asking the question what type of person would want to deprive our children of hope?”
“In fact the tree was planted on the site of a local community rally which was coordinated to protest against the Government’s involvement in the conflicts in the Middle East,” Councillor Whipper added.
“It was my first term on Council but I remember the rally well, which was also attended by then Mayor Phil Yeo, and the community spirit which was evident on the day.”
The damaged tree will be removed by Council staff and replaced with another species of Eucalyptus with similar characteristics in early spring.
“Once the replacement tree is planted I ask residents to keep an eye out for it and notify the Police if they witness any acts of vandalism,” the Mayor said.
“Because it would be an absolute shame if we all forgot the original intent and reason why the Children’s Tree of Hope was planted in Settlers Park in the first place.”
Anyone who may have any information regarding the incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on phone 1800 333 000.