The Wishing Tree – Lost from the Garden
Not all the tree that were planted when the Garden was first created have stood the test of time. The famed Wishing Tree, a Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla), was first planted in the Garden in 1818 and grew to an astounding height.
The 30m+ tall tree became famed in the community, and was of great cultural significance. Rituals had grown up around the tree, with local “dames” (as Joseph Maiden referred to them) entrusting the tree with their deepest wishes and desires. Supposedly, people would begin a spell by walking around it three times forwards, then walking three times backwards, before making their wish.
Unfortunately, it eventually grew too big for the Gardens and was relocated to another botanic Garden. The tree lived until 1945 before succumbing to decay. All was not lost however, as a new Norfolk Island Pine was planted in 1935 and is still in the Garden today. The location of the original Wishing Tree now is now where the famous Wollemi Pine now stands.