60th Tree Planting
Six Trees – Six Decades
Kim Fletcher, as master-of-ceremonies, welcomed everyone in attendance to this event which he described as a very auspicious occasion. After a Welcome to Noongar Country, he introduced the Armadale councillors who were present, namely Mayor Ruth Butterfield, Gary Smith, Jeff Munn and Hugh Jones who is now a representative in the Western Australian par liament. He said that the Armadale-Kelmscott Wildflower Society began on the 28 March 1961 exactly 60 years ago, by the urging of Rev. Ewan Watts who kept the society going for some time. Rev. Watts left in 1965-1966 for Collie where he started a similar society to study the wildflowers there.
The first tree to be planted, a Eucalyptus lane-poolei, was planted by Mayor Butterfield. She acknowledged the work of the Armadale Branch of the Wildflower Society and in particular Kim Fletcher in identifying species of plants that needed to be protected in the Armadale area when so much development was taking place and will continue to take place. Mayor Butterfield was a member of the Wildflower Society in the past and was responsible for many fabulous speakers coming to Armadale. She asked the children present to think about becoming members.
The second tree, also a Eucalyptus lane-poolei, was planted by willing family members of Rev. Ewan Watts – grandson Geoff and great-granddaughter Jo-Jo. Dr Howard Watts, the son of Rev. Watts was also in attendance but was too frail to plant the tree, so had his willing family members to assist him.
The third tree, a Corymbia calophylla, was planted by Irene Morcombe and watched on by Michael Morcombe. Michael and Irene are inaugural members of the Armadale Branch and both have amazing talents with a camera and have jointly produced many books on wildflowers, ornithology and national parks. Michael is also an artist and was also the first vice-president of the branch. Irene’s dad, John Davey, was a president of the branch for a total of 14 years and our own library at the Environemental Centre is named in honour of him.
The fourth tree, Eucalyptus rudis or Flooded Gum was planted by Roger Harington (current branch president) who was described accurately as a ‘powerhouse of the organisation who got things done’ and it is the author’s opinion as well as everyone in the branch I am certain, that this is certainly true. Without Roger’s energy and enthusiasm much of what is achieved these days at the branch would simply not happen. Roger’s dad, Rob Harington, was branch president for 10 years.
The fifth and sixth trees, both Eucalyptus wandoo, were planted by Armadale Primary School students Aiden Clarke and Rose Masters and Pioneer Village School students Eliza Schluenz and Lucas Shaw. Both schools have been involved with the Wildflower Society at different events over the years and one where the students learned how to plant trees properly!
The Armadale Primary School choir consisting of 32 students and ably assisted by choir leader Sarah, sang “Give Me a Home Among the Gum Trees”. The final entertainment was given by Keith Lethbridge who played “We are Australians” as well as “Advance Australia Fair” firstly on a gum leaf and then a non-native leaf.
Kim Fletcher finished his part of the proceedings by hoping that in the not-too-distant future there will be a fully developed arboretum on the site where this event was held. He said there was twelve different species of Eucalyptus, Casuarina and Melaleuca that could be planted to be a showcase of local trees for future generations. Presently, there are too many Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Corymbia citriodora trees on the site as a result of self-seeding of mature trees planted many decades previously.
Roger Harington thanked everyone for coming and participating in this celebration of the Armadale Branch of the Wildflower Society and advised that the next event would be Garden Week which will be held at Langley Park at the end of April. The main 60th Anniversary celebration event will be held in September when the Wildflower Society will take over the entire Armadale District Hall to promote and hopefully enthuse people attending about the beauty of our amazing wildflowers.
Everyone was then invited to partake in a beautiful afternoon tea which was enjoyed by many.
Kim Fletcher – Master-of-Ceremony and mastermind of this event
Debbie Walker, Mayor Ruth Butterfield and the Armadale Primary School Choir
President Roger Harington, Dr Howard Watts (seated), Geoff Watts and Jo-Jo Watts with their Eucalyptus lane-poolei
Michael and Irene Morcombe with President Roger Harington and Kim Fletcher prior to planting a Corymbia calophylla
Eucalyptus rudis being planted by President Roger Harington
President Roger Harington helping Armadale Primary School students Aiden Clarke and Rose Masters plant a Eucalyptus wandoo
President Roger Harington helping Pioneer Village Students Eliza Schluenz and Lucas Shaw plant a Eucalyptus wandoo
Keith Lethbridge using a Eucalyptus leaf to give the crowd a rendition of “We are Australians” as well as “Advance Australia Fair”
Armadale Primary School students with choir leader Sarah singing “Give me a Home Among the Gum Trees”
Mayor Ruth Butterfield, Alex George, Irene and Michael Morcombe enjoying afternoon