The English oak at Castlemaine Botanic Gardens has been named the 2021 Victorian Tree of the Year by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).
Also known as the Royal Oak, the tree was planted in 1863 to celebrate the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales. This stunning tree now stands at 22 metres tall with a canopy of over 35 metres, and is the oldest tree in the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens.
Simon Ambrose, CEO of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), said he is thrilled to crown the Royal Oak as the 2021 Victorian Tree of the Year.
“Our winner is adored by the Castlemaine community. It’s one of the oldest and largest known specimens of English Oak in Victoria, and voters have said they love its beautiful foliage and wide canopy. It is a popular picnic spot, and children love collecting its leaves and acorns,” said Simon.
“It’s been exciting to see the public get so involved in voting for the 2021 Victorian Tree of the Year. Following the COVID-19 lockdowns, I think we all have a renewed sense of appreciation for nature.”
Councillor Tony Cordy, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire, said he was thrilled to receive news of the win.
“Thank you to everyone who voted for our magnificent English Oak tree. It’s a remarkable thing to have a tree in our botanical gardens recognised widely for its beauty and presence,” said Tony.
“Memories are made under the shade and foliage of our mighty English oak and we hope that people are still celebrating it in another 160 years!”
The English oak was the clear winner of the 2021 Victorian Tree of the Year Award, with an impressive 625 votes out of a total of 1,590 on the National Trust’s Facebook page.
The runner-up was the Moreton Bay Fig at Lake Wellington in Meerlieu, which received a total of 238 votes.
This year, nine trees from the National Trust Significant Tree Register were shortlisted for the coveted award, with six of the finalists hailing from metro Melbourne and three from regional Victoria.
“The Tree of the Year contest is a fantastic opportunity for us to slow down and appreciate the natural wonders that play such an important role in enriching the culture and community of Victoria,” said Mr Ambrose.
“We encourage Victorians to nominate their favourite tree each year. Details on how to nominate a tree for the 2022 contest can be found on our website,” he concluded.
The National Trust is the state’s leading advocate for the protection of trees, celebrating the positive impact they have on the local community. To date, the National Trust has classified more than 20,000 trees in 1400 places across the state on the National Trust Register of Significant Trees.
For more information about 2021 Victorian Tree of the Year, visit nationaltrust.org.au/treeoftheyear