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New sculpture supports iconic tree in Cobb & Co Heritage Park

Ipswich City Council has unveiled a new sculpture in Cobb & Co Park in Rosewood as part of a tree support attached to a 70-year-old iconic Queensland native bottle tree (Brachychiton rupestris).

The sculpture is a metal silhouette of a convict-like figure appearing to hold the tree up and was designed and completed by the talented employees of Ipswich City Council.

Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the tree was significant because it has a long historic connection to Rosewood.

“This is a magnificent Queensland bottle tree and part of Rosewood’s heritage.” Mayor Harding said.

“This tree is iconic in the community as it was originally planted in a Rosewood front yard, estimated to have been sometime in the 1950s.”

“In September 2015, council undertook the difficult task of relocating the tree to Cobb & Co Heritage Park and since then, this iconic tree has continued to be successfully cared for by council arborists.”

In 2021, Ipswich City Council arborists noticed the tree had started on a lean towards the park’s southern side with further investigations concluding this was naturally occurring and most likely due to settling of the ground over time and the breakdown of organic material under the root plate.

To ensure the tree would not lean any further, an adjustable tree support was installed in 2022 and the idea was born to create a sculpture to beautify the support.

Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Deputy Chairperson Councillor Paul Tully said the project was a wonderful example of collaboration and delivering positive outcomes for the community.

‘A team of motivated council employees was involved in the design construction and installation of the project consisting of arborists, signwriters, metal fabricators, painters and installers.” Cr Tully said.

“Ipswich is a highly creative city and this project is a great example of the passion among council staff for the local community.”

“Council is made up of a diverse team of workers that specialise in various areas and this is a wonderful example of collaboration for the betterment of Ipswich.”

Queensland bottle trees are native to a limited region of the country from central Queensland through to northern NSW. They grow up to 20 metres in height, have a bulbous trunk that can grow to 3.5 metres wide and they can live for several hundred years.

The Cobb & Co Tourist Drive is a scenic route between between Ipswich and Toowoomba via the Lockyer Valley. The drive celebrates the first mail route awarded to Cobb & Co in Queensland when, on January 1, 1866 the mail service started from Ipswich to Brisbane.

Deputy Mayor and Division 4 Councillor Russell Milligan said the tree is much loved by the local community and its health would continue to be monitored.

“Investigations have shown the health of the tree is currently sound,” Cr Milligan said.

“The tree is more heavily weighted to the south, and the roots on the northern side, through investigation, were found to be very healthy so the lean appears to be a naturally evolving rotation of the root plate and the settling of organic material over time.

“Maintaining the tree, monitoring its health and also creating the silhouette highlights how this council values local arts, protecting local heritage and native species.”

Division 4 Councillor Kate Kunzelmann said the idea to create the silhouette came from the history of the area and the tree leaning south, towards the old Rosewood police lock-up building which was also relocated to the heritage park in 2015.

“The police lock-up building dates back to 1908 and is a wonderful part of Rosewood’s history.” Cr Kunzelmann said.

“Originally in the city centre, the lock-up building was relocated in 1987 and then relocated back to the city centre and restored when the new park was formed.

“Both the building and the tree were relocated to the park in 2015 so it is fitting they now come together with the convict silhouette appearing to hold up the tree.”

Anyone wanting to see the new silhouette and more than 70year-old bottle tree can do so at Cobb & Co Heritage Park, Rosewood.

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