The Right Honourable Malcolm Fraser AC CH
The Honourable Malcolm Fraser AC CH, former Prime Minister of Australia (1975-1983), joined the Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, Chair of the Arboretum Board John Mackay, Board members and invited guests in the planting of the Eucalyptus camaldulensis, commonly known as the River red gum.
This was the first ceremonial planting in the Central Valley of the National Arboretum by an Australian Prime Minister. The River red gum joins several trees planted by Heads of State and Heads of Government in the Central Valley including from Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Bulgaria, Botswana, Maldives, Timor-Leste and Mongolia.
"It is fitting that Malcolm Fraser, a former Prime Minister of Australia, should plant the iconic River red gum, a tree which is familiar to so many Australians," Mr Stanhope said at the planting ceremony. Mr Fraser spent his youth in the Riverina, north of Deniliquin, where forests of glorious red gums line the banks of the Edwards River.
The River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) is a tree of the genus . It is one of around 800 species in the genus Eucalyptus. It is a plantation species in many parts of the world but is native to Australia where it is widespread especially beside inland water courses. This species lines the Murray River for most of its length.
It is a fast growing tree and can grow to 45 metres tall depending on its location; it has smooth bark, ranging in colour from white and grey to red-brown which is shed in long ribbons. The tree has a large, dense crown of leaves. The base of the trunk can be covered with rough, reddish-brown bark. The juvenile and adult leaves are stalked, with the adult leaves broad at the base, tapering to the tip. The adult leaf colour is a dull blue-green. The leaf also contains several oil-producing glands in the un-veined areas of the leaf. The tree grows straight under favourable conditions, but can develop twisted branches in drier conditions.
The mature specimen selected for this ceremonial planting is currently 2.5 metres tall with a trunk diameter of 25mm.