Rare tree finds new home in Pioneer Park

HUNDREDS of school children gathered to watch history happen as Pioneer Park's prehistoric Wollemi Pine was lowered into the ground on Friday.

It took weeks for park manager Javier Terrazas to select the perfect spot for the precious tree to call home, after it was donated by the National Dinosaur Museum when the crew visited last month.

The Wollemi Pine - which is not actually a pine tree but bears some resemblance - is one of the world's oldest and rarest trees and was discovered in 1994 in Wollemi National Park.

There are less than 100 mature trees known in the wild and the oldest fossil of the 200 million-year-old species dates back 90 million years.

Deputy mayor Dino Zappacosta, who was landed the auspicious task of putting the plant into the ground, said the kind donation was a coup for Pioneer Park.

"To have a tree with such significance planted here in this idyllic setting is certainly quite a coup," Mr Zappacosta said.

"It's quite unique and I look forward to coming back here year after year to see how it's going."

Councillor Leon Thorpe said the first ever Wollemi Pine in Griffith had been planted outside the Presbyterian Church but sadly, it did not have a long life.

"It grew to about 20 foot tall and then it died," Cr Thorpe said.

"Hopefully this tree fares better."

Mr Terrazas said the young tree had to be protected from afternoon sun and thrived in the leafy environment provided by other trees.

"Every time I came down in the past few weeks I had a look around for the perfect spot," Mr Terrazas said.

"This is a flora conserve in the park and I also wanted to bring attention to the Aboriginal Scar Trees that are here."

Mr Terrazas said the slow-growing tree - which can grow to 40 metres - was quite versatile but would require some care while it was young.

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