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Treasured trees vandalised at RBG Melbourne

This weekend, staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne discovered that several trees had been damaged in act of vandalism just six weeks after cacti in the Arid Garden were slashed.

It appears that vandals have attempted to ringbark three trees and damaged several others, probably with a small axe or machete.

Among the damaged trees was one of Victoria's most significant trees, the Separation Tree, a 400 year-old River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). Also damaged was a beautiful Corymbia maculata Spotted Gum and a commemorative Brush Box planted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1954.

Professor Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens was outraged by the latest attack. "This is another senseless act, particularly because it targeted some of our most important and distinguished trees."

"After the Arid Garden was vandalised last month we began a review of security at the Gardens. This incident strengthens my commitment to find new ways to protect this priceless collection of plants. In the end though, the Gardens can not, and should not, be a high security compound. We seem to have a problem with a small number of individuals who have no regard for the importance of these trees and the significance of the Gardens."

An initial assessment of the damage has been carried out and it is hoped that all of the affected trees will, in time, recover fully with the help of the Gardens' expert team. The Separation Tree was already vulnerable after a major attack in August 2010 which left the tree severely ringbarked. A full assessment of the damage to the Separation Tree will be carried out on Monday and the Gardens' staff will yet again devise a treatment plan to give this tree the best chance of survival.

The incident has been reported to Victoria Police who will investigate the matter further.