28 July 2014

Wide load of a different kind

  • Elizabeth Quay

When your passenger weighs 20 tonnes, stands 15 metres high and has a canopy stretching 15 metres by nine metres, you're going to need more than a wheelbarrow.

In fact, you’re going to need a crane, an oversize rig, four escort vehicles, three hours, closed lanes and traffic lights to be dismantled.

And this is just what the Arbor Centre needed to move the majestic fig tree which has called Barrack Street Jetty its home for the past nine years to its temporary new home in the Perth City Link site, adjacent to the Perth Arena.

Watch a video of the tree move on our Youtube channel.

Rob Bodenstaff, Director of the Arbor Centre, said that transplanting the tree was a major operation.

“First, we had to make sure that the tree had the vitality and was structurally sound enough to be transplanted. As we had moved the tree from Riverside Drive to Barrack Square in 2002 we knew exactly what we needed to do to prepare the tree for its temporary home,” said Rob.

“The logistics of transporting the fig through city streets had to be carefully worked out. We had to schedule the preliminary works at Barrack Square to get the tree ready for transplant and then had to figure out the best route and timing.”

Being transported upright meant that some traffic lights were removed along the route to make way for the width of the canopy – but it’s that impressive canopy which provides shade and shelter that will be so appreciated in the tree’s final home within Perth City Link.

Rob and his team are caring for the fig in its temporary home before moving it to its permanent position in two years, where it will be a grand and historic feature of the landscape.

Numbering among Rob’s professional successes throughout the years was the transplanting of a 750-year-old Boab from the Kimberley to Kings Park; relocating 35 120-year-old Elms to facilitate a city link project in Melbourne; lecturing at tertiary institutes; and training professionals like landscape architects, engineers and parks managers in finding arboricultural solutions for urban trees.