A PIECE of colonial heritage is under siege at Raymond Terrace and a number of trees possibly lost for good.
Numerous trees in the historic Boomerang Park believed to date back to 1890, including the tree pictured, appear to have been poisoned.
A series of drill marks are dotted around the trunk.
While other trees around it have new spring growth, it is brown. The bark on numerous pines has been hacked off the trunks consistent with the use of an axe. The foliage on these trees has also died back.
A number of noxious camphor laurels have also been ring-barked.
Port Stephens Council is working with the Office of Environment and Heritage to determine who vandalised the trees within a park that has local heritage value.
They’ve appealed to the public for any information that might help with the investigation. Raymond Terrace resident Jarrod Martin noticed the damage on a walk with his dog two weeks ago and reported it to the council soon after.
"When you look at the canopy you can see all the trees they've hit, they're brown," he said.
"Going after the sapling camphor laurels is one thing, it's great, but they've gone after some big trees, it's just wrong."
Raymond Terrace was surveyed in 1836 and Boomerang Park was surveyed and dedicated as a ‘public reserve’ in 1837.
A photograph of the park around 1850 shows mature eucalypt species in the park. A photograph from about 1900 also shows plantings of Norfolk Island, hoop and bunyip pines. A number of tree-planting events have been undertaken including 20 stone pine trees in 1896. In 1901 a further 36 trees were recommended by the council and more trees were again planted in 1905.
The park, including former stone quarry and mature tree plantings, is listed as an item of local heritage significance on the local environmental plan (LEP) 2013.
“The park's zoning means that any native vegetation removal and its impact are constrained by the Native Vegetation Act and penalties of up to $1.1 million can apply to offences of this nature,” a spokesman for the council said.
“Council is liaising with the Office of Environment and Heritage, who regulate the act, regarding the damage and removal of trees that form part of an endangered ecological community.
“Anyone with any information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact council to assist with the investigation."
- Contact: 4980 0255.