Timber salvaging from Port Arthur’s Memorial Avenue

March 26, 2013

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) would like to hear from community members interested in reusing timber from trees about to be harvested as part of the progressive replacement of the Port Arthur Soldiers Memorial Avenue.

In January 2012, the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority adopted a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the Soldier’s Memorial Avenue located within the Historic Site. This plan had been prepared by a heritage consultant to examine the history and significance of the Memorial Avenue, and identify the best management option for its future.

The plan recognised that the Memorial Avenue is an important feature in the landscape of the Port Arthur Historic Site, both for the symbolic link to the people belonging to the Carnarvon and Oakwood communities who had planted the Avenue as well as the aesthetic value it embodies. The plan acknowledged that Memorial Avenues were planted in a spirit of ‘perpetual remembrance’ right across Tasmania, but that a large number of those original Avenues were now gone. Such a loss is not an outcome that is considered acceptable for the Port Arthur Memorial Avenue.

The Cupressus macrocarpa, or Monterey Cypress trees in the Avenue are now 95 years old, and whilst some are strong and may have a useful life expectancy of up to another 50 years, a number are severely in decline. At least eight trees have been removed and not replaced over the last ten years.

An arboricultural consultancy has recommended that no more trees should be removed individually, as this will result in wind tunnelling and unpredictable consequences for adjacent trees. Rather, the 38 remaining trees in the Avenue should be managed in blocks, and removed in three stages over a ten year period. As each block of trees is removed they will be replanted. This will allow for the retention of the avenue as a memorial into the extended future.

The first block consisting of 13 trees will be removed in mid April. The trees will have their branches removed and these will be chipped for spreading as mulch around the 21 trees to be replanted. The extra trees are replacements for originals removed in the past. The barrels of the trees will be cut into sections suitable for transporting and timber milling. The costs involved in this major operation will be partially funded by a grant recently received from the Department for Veteran Affairs for the Repair and Renewal of War Memorials.

Whilst PAHSMA is considering options for suitable re-use of the timber on-site, such as for site furniture, we anticipate that some members of the community may be interested in salvaging some wood from these important trees.

PAHSMA welcomes requests for tree trunks from the community. Please contact us on 03 6251 2300 if you have an idea or need more information.

Trees forming the Soldiers Memorial Avenue at Port Arthur will be progressively replaced over coming years.

Trees forming the Soldiers Memorial Avenue at Port Arthur will be progressively replaced over coming years.