25th September 2018
City of Fremantle press release:
Picture frames, works of art and furniture are among the items to be created using wood from the Kings Square Moreton Bay Fig trees.
In July this year a decision was made by Fremantle Council to remove and replace the two trees, which have been in decline for over a decade.
The decision followed an extensive public consultation process in which the community supported removing and replacing the ailing trees rather than trying to manage the ever increasing risks associated with keeping them.
Last month the City called for expressions of interest from artists, community groups and other people interested in using the wood.
Ben Goodman from local picture framer and art gallery Bitches Brew said he always loved the trees and wanted to think of some way to help preserve their legacy.
“We’re a custom picture framing company and we've called Freo home for over 31 years,” Mr Goodman said.
“We make a lot of frames which truly commemorate Fremantle and work with a lot of local artists and photographers.
“We’ll be using the wood to make a series of limited and exclusive ‘Freo Frames’ which will be available for more prominent artists and organisations within Fremantle who we work with.
“We also have our own Art Space which we display work in, so we’ll create frames made of this wood for the exclusively and uniquely Fremantle pieces we have on display.”
The two Moreton Bay Figs trees were removed earlier this month and will be replaced with two mature trees.
A London Plane tree will be relocated this week to replace the fig to the south of St John’s Church.
The search for a mature Moreton Bay Fig to replace the 'Christmas Fig' is ramping up, with several mature trees already identified as possible replacements.
Once a decision on the replacement tree is made by the council, the tree will start being prepared for its move to Kings Square.
Due to their advancing age and visible signs of decline, the City of Fremantle has been monitoring the health of fig trees in Kings Square and other parts of Fremantle since 2008.
In early 2017 the City engaged a bioscientist to monitor the health of the ‘Christmas Fig’ tree, which is one of the oldest trees in Fremantle, estimated to be more than 120 years old. In July 2017 the tree was given an injection of a naturally occurring enzyme and following this the City lifted the pavers around the tree, topped up the surrounding area with soil and mulch and increased the irrigation in an attempt to rejuvenate the tree.
In June 2018, the City removed two other Moreton Bay figs in Kings Square after being identified by independent consultants as requiring removal due to poor health. This removal was factored into the Kings Square Public Realm Design which was put out for community consultation and approved by council earlier this year.
Three other Moreton Bay figs at the northern end of Kings Square have been assessed as being healthy and are not being considered for removal.
The City understands the importance of trees in its main city square when it adopted the Kings Square Public Realm Design in February 2018. The plan seeks to retain as many existing trees as possible, relocate mature trees when practical and add more trees into Kings Square. The end result is a net increase of 23 trees when the project is finished.
To date this year, six London Plane trees and a Canary Island palm have been relocated within Kings Square, following 12 months of preparation and planning.