Bowral pin oaks planted to mark a royal occasion

It was reported in The Southern Mail in May 1937 that the red oaks would one day ‘make a fine showing particularly in the autumn when their bright red foliage is seen at its best’. Inset: King George VI marries Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother in 1937.
It was reported in The Southern Mail in May 1937 that the red oaks would one day ‘make a fine showing particularly in the autumn when their bright red foliage is seen at its best’. Inset: King George VI marries Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother in 1937.

With the Royal Wedding almost upon us, the whole world is talking about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. 

Yet nothing could compare to the hysteria which met the Coronation of King George and Queen Elisabeth in May 1937, when the Southern Highlands was fiercely loyal to the King, the flag and the Empire.  

Celebrations across the shire included Church of England Services, band processions, picnics, firecrackers and huge bonfires. In Bowral a large crowd gathered for a tree planting ceremony in which red oaks were planted in Station Street between Merrigang and Bong Bong Streets by children selected from local schools. 

It was reported that the red oaks would one day ‘make a fine showing particularly in the autumn when their bright red foliage is seen at its best’. In total 19 red pin oaks were planted and the names of the children were recorded for posterity in the Southern Mail. 

In May 2018 it would be fascinating to hear from any surviving children involved on that day 81 years ago. The article was as follows:

The first tree was planted by Gay Garney (Bowral High School) in Merrigang Street around the corner from Station Street.

The second tree was planted by Hope Schomber (Bowral High School) on the corner of Merrigang and Station Streets on the western side and the others on the western side were planted as follows: 

Bowral High School: Gwen Smith (No. 3), David Price (4), Joan Gregory (6). 

Bowral Primary School: Gloria Whatman (6), Joan Began (7), Terry Woodbridge (8), Alex Patterson (9)

Annesley College: Olive Elliott (10), Louise Etheridge (11).

Convent School: Eileen O'Sullivan (12).

On the eastern side the tree nearest to Merrigang Street was planted by John McLean (Boy Scouts), and is numbered 19 on the plan. 

The other trees were planted in the following order: 

Girl Guides, Freda Reed (18); 

Anglewood School, John Burgin (17); Richard Futter (16); 

O.L.S.H. College, Brian Ricketts, (16), Gerald Gilroy (14); 

Convent School, Doreen Cummins (13).

Reference: Tree Planting. (1937, May 14). The Southern Mail (Bowral, NSW : 1889 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article118712184

  • Do you recognise any of the names in this list from the May 14, 1937 edition of The Southern Mail? We would love to hear from you. Please send information and photos to us through our website portal at https://www.southernhighlandnews.com.au/, click on community then send us your news. Alternatively use the form below.

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