Community & Environment

From a small acorn a mighty tree has grown

Warren's Oak Tree

An acorn planted in the 1960s by an inquisitive young boy has grown to become one of the city’s most recognisable trees.

Former Hamilton resident Kathryn Oliver contacted Mayor Andrew King to alert him to the decades-old story of how the large oak tree came to dominate the roundabout at the intersection of Tristram St, Anzac Pde and Cobham Dr (pictured)

Kathryn remembered growing up on nearby Palmerston St, and frequently socialising with children from around the corner on Clarence St – her friend Kathleen Grainger and Kathleen’s older brother Warren (pictured).

“Warren would have been about nine years old when he planted the acorn,” Kathleen says. “He was born in 1947.  There were other oak trees on other sections near our place, so Warren probably picked up an acorn from anywhere around there.”

Kathleen’s family lived at Clarence St for many years, watching as their neighbourhood changed and excavation for what became Cobham Dr emerged. She says her father, Alan Grainger, had always envisaged the development of Cobham Dr would see the tree felled – but history has proven him wrong.

“Warren would have been about nine years old when he planted the acorn,”

“Warren loved growing all sorts of things,” Kathleen says. “He would try growing bananas and I remember the tops of the pineapples mum would cut off Warren would try to grow them by putting them in a saucer of water!

“So Warren planting an acorn was pretty typical of what he would do, he would have checked it and probably marked the spot when he planted it. I don’t remember tracking its growth, the most significant moment was knowing our home had been demolished (years later) and finding they had left this small area of our section with the oak tree still there. The tree was quite a good size then.”

Warren Grainger, and his sister Kathleen

Decades later, Kathleen and Kathryn are still in contact with one another, affectionately referring to the big oak on the roundabout as “Warren’s tree”.

Some investigations by Hamilton City Libraries’ Heritage Team have confirmed the tree was planted in the location in the 1960s, and the prominent and busy roundabout was built around it.

The story Kathleen and Kathyrn have shared is proof the curiosity of young boys can stand the test of time, with “Warren’s tree” in magnificent condition amid the hub-bub of busy nearby streets.

Parks and Recreation staff are exploring options to place a plaque at the city marking Warren’s small act in the 1960s, and which still stands as a small piece of the city’s history.

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