Seeing Bowral Vietnam War Memorial Cherry Tree Walk blossom this Spring brings great satisfaction to the Southern Highlands Vietnam Veterans who took part in planting four new trees together with Council on September 7. This is just the beginning of an innovative project to preserve the trees, which has taken three years to bring to fruition.
Local Veterans Ray Balard, Ross Latta, Alen Swift, Jack Forbe, Lee Bourgeois and Graeme Moffatt didn’t hesitate to get their hands dirty for such an important cause. “It means a great deal to us to know we’re bringing new life to such a significant site by putting new trees in place that will stand the test of time,” said Ray McCann from Southern Highlands Vietnam Veterans.
“We are extremely appreciative to Council Administrator Mr Viv May who went to extraordinary lengths to see that our concerns about the impacts of flooding were heard and acted upon.”
Council arranged for the new cherry trees to be cultivated especially for Bowral Vietnam War Memorial Cherry Tree Walk when the existing trees began showing signs of disease.
“Planted in 2000, many of the original Prunus serrulate Tai-Haki Cherry Trees have succumbed to phytophora root rot and this particular species is no longer readily available in nurseries,” Council’s Team Leader Tree Management, Charlene Ferguson explains. “Understanding the importance of preserving such a symbolic place for our Vietnam Veterans and their families, we partnered with a nursery to graft cuttings from the existing trees onto F-12 rot-resistant root stock.”
Approximately 90 trees will ultimately be planted to future-proof the monument. “We hope to have another 20 ready to plant next year with the remainder expected to be available the year following,” Carlene says. The new trees will flower and leaf as the former trees always have, with only a very slight difference in trunk colour.
If you’d like to see the new trees for yourself, they’ve been planted adjacent to the wooden bridge, close to the Bowral pools in Rivulet Park. A concealed concrete wall now protects against flooding while a sub-surface draining system, new soil and uplifting of the casuarina trees allow in more light.
“We must pay credit to the young Council workers who have taken pride in all of these works, a sure sign that Council’s change management program is working,” Ray McCann said.
A Conservation Management Plan to ensure the preservation of Cherry Tree Walk for generations to come will be developed in consultation with Southern Highlands Vietnam Veterans and the wider Wingecarribee community.
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