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11 years on - flagship project remains on display to 6 million visitors each year

by Rob Bodenstaff. Thanks to KPBGA 18 Jul 2019


During the 30 years since we started our business, we've been fortunate to be involved in some pretty significant projects.
From the Cloisters Fig Tree project; the unique heritage landmark located between Hay Street and St Georges Terrace (where the Fig tree was originally planted back in 1887 by a tenant of the Cloisters), to our more recent Tree Preservation Reports, Tree Transplanting, Tree Supply and Installation work at Optus Stadium, we are proud of our tag as being the most trusted Arboriculture experts in WA.

Recognition to us, is measured by project success, happy clients and a sense of achievement in terms of positive community impact. One such project that met these criteria was our role in helping to transplant a giant boab tree from Warmun in WA's Kimberley region, to Kings Park in Perth. In what was recognised as a possible 'world first', the giant 750 year-old boab tree undertook a journey of over 3200 kilometres to arrive at its new home. It's hard to believe that this took place 11 years ago this month.

Weighing in at 36 tonnes with a height of 14 meters, a width of 8 meters and a trunk diameter of 2.5 meters, the tree - now known as 'Gija Jumulu', was a special gift to all Western Australians from the local Indigenous people, the Gija, who are the traditional land owners of the Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority .

If we looked at the Satellite Navigation data at the time, we'd have seen a journey mapped out from the Great Northern and Brand Highways, through numerous regional centres and into Perth's outer suburbs, before carefully negotiating the 25 meter truck trailer around more local roads, as it moved towards its final destination. At times, part of the logistical operation involved police escorts and two-lane priority, in order to safely ensure the tree arrived in the best possible condition. Gija Julumu made 'celebrity' appearances at Fitzroy Crossing, Port Hedland, Meekatharra, Cue, Eneabba and Muchea on it's epic journey. On many occasions, it was greeted by crowds of onlookers and encouraged by drivers honking their horns in support of the efforts being made.

These logistical challenges are similar - although not often to this scale - to those we face when transplanting sizeable trees. The fact that we've had plenty of experience in solving and managing this type of logistical challenge for clients, sets us apart from other arboriculture company's Australia-wide. This has been recently evidenced by our work over in Canberra where we're working with the The City Renewal Authority on a programme which includes; tree suitability for relocation, site and soil conditions, operational processes for future tree relocation/transplantation.

There are so many considerations when transplanting trees, particularly of the scale of this boab. It takes some wise heads to work through all of the challenges involved, to ensure the safe arrival of larger scales trees - whilst maintaining them in the best possible condition. Working alongside other Partners on this project including Main Roads, BGC Contracting, Laing O'Rourke Australia, Western Australian
Police, Western Power and the Nyoongar and Gija communities was a great privilege and one that will down in Arbor Centre history as being one of the most challenging yet rewarding projects we've undertaken.

To be able to say that we played a leading part in the life of this historic tree is something that we're all very proud of at the Arbor Centre.