Ipswich's oldest tree, growing since the 1550s
IPSWICH's oldest known tree has been identified near the rural village of Calvert and dated at 463 years of age.
The tree is a forest red gum and started its existence in 1550.
To provide some historical perspective, the tree began its life around the same time that astronomer Copernicus proved that planets revolved around the sun and while Ivan the Terrible was on the loose as Czar of Russia.
The red gum was 56 years old when Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon made landfall at the Pennefather River on the western shore of Cape York in Queensland, the first known European landing in Australia.
The Calvert tree is more than 160 years older than the previously oldest known tree in Ipswich, a 300-year-old eucalypt in Goodna.
The Tree Doctor, specialists in the field, used a Resistograph decay detection drill to measure the width of the growth increment of both the old tree and an adjacent young tree.
Calculations then revealed the age of the tree to be 463 years, with the possibility of a 10 per cent variance either way.
Cr David Pahlke, who initiated the investigation after being awestruck by the tree, said he was "blown away" by the age of the red gum.
"Twenty generations have come and gone and this tree is still here," he said.
"There is a forest red gum in Lowood (in the Somerset) that is supposedly 500 years old but I don't know if it has been officially tested. But this is the oldest tree in Ipswich that we know of. It is healthy too. We'll put it on the national tree register. I'm trying to find out whether it is the second oldest forest red gum in Queensland."
Cr Pahlke said he would be aiming to bring local Aboriginal elders out to inspect the tree.
On a lighter note, Cr Pahlke was quite chuffed that the tree in his patch was older than the previous oldest known tree in Cr Paul Tully's stomping ground.
Cr Tully confirmed the previous record.
"There is a 300-year-old eucalypt in Alice St in Goodna.
"It was living in Goodna when Captain Cook came up the east coast in 1770," he said.
As for the Calvert tree, Cr Tully joked that there was "a black panther seen climbing up it last week", in reference to Cr Pahlke's pursuit of the truth behind giant black cat sightings in his jurisdiction.
The fact is, this tree is seriously old.
THE WORLD CIRCA 1550
*Giovanni Maria del Monte elected Pope Julius III
*China's Ming Dynasty in full swing
*Copernicus proves planets revolve around sun
*Ivan the Terrible is Czar of Russia