WORRIED: Cate Brown and other Banora Point residents raised the alarm over a 100-year-old Norfolk Island Pine which appears to be dying.
WORRIED: Cate Brown and other Banora Point residents raised the alarm over a 100-year-old Norfolk Island Pine which appears to be dying. SCOTT POWICK

Fears 100-year-old ‘Tweed icon’ Norfolk Pine dying

THE owner of a 100-year-old Norfolk Island Pine at Banora Point said he's going to do everything in his power to save the historic tree, planted in honour of First World War Diggers.

His pledge follows concerned neighbours issuing an alert over the tree's ailing health.

Cate Brown contacted the Tweed Shire Council concerned the last of six towering Norfolk Pines at Anthony Ave, once planted to also serve as a navigational point for fishermen, had lost its foliage and colour.

Barry Jephcote, who owns the property on which the tree stands, said he was aware of the tree's significance to local history and its associated preservation order, and was undertaking tests to determine the cause of its deterioration.

He'd previously sought council permission to remove three of the pines in what was a huge operation closing down the street, due to safety concerns. One tree had been hit by lightning.

"There's no way in the world I want to lose this tree," Mr Jephcote said.

"It might just be a fertiliser issue; it might have gone into shock.

"It's going to be an ongoing thing to see if we can save the tree or not."

Concerned resident Ms Brown is hopeful the tree can be saved.

"A plaque has confirmed the tree was used for naval navigation as it is on the top of the hill, and can be sighted from a great distance," Ms Brown said.

"I am devastated for this Banora Point, in fact, Tweed icon not to be nurtured."

Laura St resident Fiona Barnett said she also noticed the sick pine. "I'm saddened for local residents," she said.

Tweed Shire Council's co-ordinator of natural resource management Jane Lofthouse said as the tree was on private land council was not responsible for its health.

"Following a search of council's records there is no evidence that an application for removal of the tree has been made nor a decision pending," she said.


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