Have your say on Council’s plan to plant trees to celebrate centenarians


Elllen jonsson, centenary tree

Celebrate by planting a tree – Centenarian Ellen Jonsson, pictured with Councillor Jade Wellings, Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour, and her son, Peter, helped plant a tree at the Hervey Bay Botanic garden to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Fraser Coast residents are invited to have their say on a Council policy recognising residents who celebrate their 100th birthday by planting a ‘centenary tree’.

Mayor George Seymour said the recognition practice was initiated by the former Maryborough City Council, which introduced the planting of a tree in a public park to celebrate the milestone, and had since been expanded to include all areas of the Fraser Coast region.

“Planting a tree to commemorate the 100th birthday of a Fraser Coast resident is becoming very popular, with more than 10 trees planted in the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens and the Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens in Maryborough this year alone,” he said.

Cr Seymour speculated that the significant increase in the number of people turning 100 in the past couple of years suggests that there was a baby boom as men returned from World War I.

“With the increasing popularity of planting centenary trees, Council is looking to adopt a formal policy and is inviting the community to have their say on the protocols and application process,” he said.

The celebration is important and uplifting, Cr Jade Wellings said.

“Recognising residents who reach 100 years of age helps bond the community,” she said.

“The ceremony is also a chance to reflect on how the region has changed over time and contributes to making the Fraser Coast such a vibrant community.

“Hearing their stories about their lives is very rewarding.

“My favourite story, and a life defining moment, was planting a tree with Ellen Jonsson in January.

“I was expecting a nice old lady in a wheelchair, but instead Ellen strode in on foot with her head high; she shoveled dirt and lifted the heavy watering can to water in her tree.

“Then she gave us 15 squats and some tips on how she has stayed so healthy and active.

“Then and there, in that moment, I resolved to take some of Ellen’s life advice so that I too can live a long healthy life.

“Living to 100 is an achievement in itself and should be celebrated.”

If you would like to comment on the policy, please go to the Council’s Community Engagement Hub frasercoast.engagementhub.com.au/centenary-tree-policy and fill out a submission form.

The draft policy also sets out eligibility criteria and how to apply for a celebratory tree planting.

The consultation is open now and will close on Monday, September 6 at 11:55pm.