20 December 2021

Tumut seedling grows to take pride of place in Government House

| Edwina Mason
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A five-metre-tall radiata pine tree has been donated for use as a Christmas tree in the foyer of Government House in Sydney for the festive season. Photo: Supplied.

A Christmas tree that started life in a Tumut nursery proudly sits in Government House in Sydney where it takes pride of place in the building’s iconic foyer.

In the spirit of Christmas, the five-metre-tall Christmas tree – a radiata pine sourced from Penrose State Forest in the Southern Highlands and grown by Forestry Corporation of NSW– was donated to support the stately Christmas display.

The tree was sourced from Penrose State Forest, which has historical significance to the people of Sydney. Photo: Supplied.

Forestry Corporation’s Moss Vale area supervisor Tom Bagnell, said this particular tree started its life as one of around nine million seeds sown in the Forestry Corporation’s Blowering Nursery at Tumut in 2016.

“From there it spent the next five formative years in the Penrose State Forest pine plantation, before being harvested for this special role,” Mr Bagnall said.

He said the organisation was always happy to support Government House’s Christmas display and help raise awareness of the NSW timber industry.

He said Penrose State Forest, just 15 minutes north of Marulan, has a significant Christmas history, so is an apt source for this donation.

The plantation was first established in 1920, one of the earliest in the state, he explained.

After a fire destroyed the plantation and Penrose village in 1939, the idea of growing pine was initially discarded by the then Forestry Commission.

“However, following a significant rainfall post-fire, the pine regeneration was so significant they decided to retain the plantation, initially to sell as Christmas trees,” Mr Bagnell said.

“By the early 1950s the sale of Christmas trees to the Sydney market was a viable enterprise with some 90,000 trees being supplied by the Forestry Commission in one year alone,” he added.

Forestry Corporation has grown pine on the site ever since, with extensions to the plantation area through the 1960s and 70s.

Radiata pine (Pinus radiata) was originally named pinus insignis or ‘remarkable pine’, an apt name for a tree, which has a host of practical uses, Mr Bagnall said.

Forestry Corporation of NSW provides the tree to help raise awareness of the contribution of the timber industry to the NSW economy. Photo: Supplied.

This species has been grown in the local Moss Vale area for more than 100 years.

Radiata pine is used in construction, landscaping and pulp and paper products, with NSW State forest pine plantations producing enough timber to construct a quarter of the houses built in Australia each year.

Forestry Corporation operations in both plantations and native forests, are certified sustainable to international standards, which guarantees that timber has been grown and harvested from a sustainable forest.

“This tree is one of the countless that cover the two million hectares of NSW State Forests,” Mr Bagnell said.

“Around half of our estate is managed solely for community enjoyment and environmental outcomes, and a small percentage of the remaining forests are harvested each year to help build our homes and supply timber products,” he added.

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