Return to White Cedar allée: the re-vegetation story

Turning inwards away from the road, re-join the white cedar pathway. From here you can enjoy some the magnificent specimens of trees that are the results of a major historical attempt at revegetation.

By 1850, public opinion had concluded that something needed to be done about the barren and unappealing aesthetic of this park. Olives became one of the most widely planted trees by the 1870s, because of their fast growth and productivity. There is still a small grove of them in the North-West corner of Kadlitpina.

Consecutive city gardeners O’Brien and Pengilly carried out planting of mainly British and Mediterranean species, in mostly un-ornamental fashion.  A report from 1880 describes the chief species in the Eastern parklands being pines, olives, and eucalypts. The report also recommended the removal of most of these gums and olives from Kadlitpina to begin a more ornamental planting strategy, one which would complement the existing white cedars and create a semi-formal garden environment. The report’s author, John Ednie Brown, was appointed ‘Supervisor of the Plantations’, and Pengillly, the city gardener was placed at his disposal. Tensions between the two men, one who was appointed to overturn years of the other’s work, quickly reached a head and they had a falling out. Brown quit, citing concern for his professional reputation, and Pengilly was later fired.

The dust eventually settled, and by 1899, new city gardener August Pelzer began removing failing olives and conducting a vigorous replanting of Aleppo pines, plane trees, and English elms – in accordance with Brown’s recommendations. The planting program continued into the early twentieth century and upheld the gardenesque character of Kadlitpina. Enjoy especially the towering specimens of Aleppo pine along Botanic Road, and the English Elms further down the slope.

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