A new Moreton Bay fig tree has taken pride of place in Fremantle’s Kings Square after being relocated early this morning.
After more than a year of planning and preparation, the massive specimen weighing around 16 tonnes was transported through the streets of Fremantle on the back of a semi-trailer to its new home, where it was carefully lifted into position by crane.
The tree will now become a focal point for the new Kings Square play space, which is part of the $270 million renewal of Kings Square by the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the relocation of the tree was a huge undertaking.
“It’s not every day that you see a massive fig tree being driven through downtown Fremantle on the back of truck,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“It’s taken an enormous amount of work and planning from City’s landscaping and engineering staff and the transplanting experts at the Arbor Centre to prepare the tree, get all the logistics and traffic management in place and then to move the tree safely to its new home.
“They’ve all done a great job, which I’m sure visitors to Kings Square will appreciate for generations to come.”
The new Moreton Bay fig tree replaces the much-loved ‘Christmas Fig’, which had to be removed from Kings Square for safety reasons due to its deteriorating condition.
Fremantle Council approved the removal of the Christmas Fig on the condition that it be replaced by another mature fig tree.
A suitable replacement tree was identified along Ord Street and for the past year the City’s landscaping team had been preparing it for relocation to Kings Square.
The relocation itself was a three-day process which began on Tuesday with the excavation of the root ball of the tree.
Yesterday morning the tree was extracted from the ground using a crane, lifted onto a semi-trailer and moved to an overnight laydown area in the Fremantle Leisure Centre car park.
At 6am this morning the tree started the journey through central Fremantle to its final destination at Kings Square, where it was lifted into place by crane.
Once the new tree has had time to settle in construction will start on the Kings Square play space.
Inspired by the Fremantle’s industrial history and close links with nature, the concept design for the play space includes features such as cranes, bridges, train tracks and shipping containers and incorporates natural elements including water and trees, bold lighting treatments and tactile nature play elements.
The Kings Square Renewal project includes Sirona’s redevelopment of the old Myer and Queensgate sites to create offices for more than 1700 state government employees and the revolutionary FOMO food, art and retail concept, the construction of the City of Fremantle’s new Walyalup Civic Centre and library, and the rejuvenation of the public spaces that surround the site.