Invercargill's oldest trees felled due to safety concerns

Chris Diack, of Central Southland Logging, with two of the oldest trees in Invercargill city, felled amongst about ...
Robyn Edie/Stuff

Chris Diack, of Central Southland Logging, with two of the oldest trees in Invercargill city, felled amongst about thirty trees at the Lennel property on Albert street, Invercargill.

The man who felled two of Invercargill's oldest trees was dwarfed by the stumps left behind at the site of John Turnbull Thomson's house on Monday.

Thomson, originally from England, came to New Zealand and was a chief surveyor of Otago, and one of his jobs was to choose the site for Invercargill. In September 1856 he rode south to finalise the site and lay out the town.

Central Southland Logging director Chris Diack felled the weeping macrocarpas along with about 30 other trees at the Lennel property on Albert St.

While the trees were healthy, they had to be removed because there was a risk they would fall on neighbouring houses.

Property owner Denys Finlayson said he and his wife Jocelyn were sad the trees had to be felled.

"We are very disappointed to see them go."

The trees were damaged in 2015 during high winds, but Finlayson had been trying to two years to get them attended to with no luck.

He bought the house at auction about 20 years ago from Invercargill businessman Bruce Henley.

The macrocarpas were thought to have been planted in the 1860s on land John Turnbull Thomson purchased to retire on.

He lived in the house for two years before his death in 1884.

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