A 750-year-old boab, which has travelled the length of Western Australia, will finally put down its roots at Kings Park today.
Environment Minister David Templeman will officially welcome the tree to its new home in pride of place at Two Rivers Lookout at 3pm.
“The tree has been on a remarkable journey, travelling 3,200km over six days, from Warmun in the East Kimberley to Kings Park in Perth, greeted enthusiastically by all who saw it in every community along the way,” Mr Templeman said.
“It is an honour to welcome such an iconic specimen, with its strong cultural and historical value, and to share it with the people of WA.”
The welcoming event, in which Nyoongar elders will perform a smoke ceremony, is open to the public and will take place near the Botanic Garden’s Wildflower Pavilion.
“Boabs hold a special significance for Aboriginal people,” the Minister said.
“The Gija people in the Kimberley gave their blessing for the tree’s removal, and the Nyoongar people are welcoming it, so its journey is now complete.”
The giant boab weighs 37 tonnes and stands 14 metres tall. Its trunk measures 2.5 metres in diameter.
The tree was carefully uprooted on Monday after three days of excavation, before being placed on a 25 metre-long truck. The truck followed the Great Northern and Brand Highways, passing through numerous regional centres, before arriving at Kings Park yesterday.
Nowhere in the world has a mature tree been transported across such a distance on land.
The tree will be planted at the Two Rivers Lookout, overlooking majestic views of the Swan and Canning rivers, reminiscent of the vast landscapes of its former home.
The cost of the boab’s relocation has been met by a long list of sponsors, including Main Roads, BGC Contracting, Laing O’Rourke Australia, Maunsell Australia and the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, and supported by the Police and Western Power. Both machinery and manpower has been donated to make the project possible.
“The enormity of this feat and the generosity of those involved cannot be underestimated,” Mr Templeman said.
“It has been a real logistical challenge to transport this magnificent tree to its new home, something that would not have been possible without the co-operation and assistance of so many people.
“Once the tree is well established, Kings Park staff will harvest seeds and plant up to 200 boabs in the Kimberley.
“The boab’s journey has captivated the community and I now encourage everyone to come along and visit the tree at its new home.
“This project will help ensure future generations can experience the wonder of unique native plants like the boab.”
· The boab tree is endemic to the Kimberley region of Western Australia and parts of the Northern Territory.
· It has long been a source of food and medicine for Aboriginal communities.
· The boab was salvaged due to the re-alignment of the Great Northern Highway.
· It will be planted on Sunday, July 20, prior to the official welcome at 3pm.
· A 100-tonne crane will be used to move it into place.
· Warmun is about 190km south of Kununurra.
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