I chose to research Sacred Heart’s cork tree because it is a significant part of our school and I would love to try and keep it alive.
If someone doesn’t keep the history, our history is broken. I love nature and the cork tree is a very big part of nature and our school.
The cork tree is 115 years old and is 10 metres high. Its common name is Cork Oak and its scientific name is Quercus suber and it’s very rare to find a cork tree this old.
The Presentation Sisters who founded Sacred Heart were linked to Nano Nagle. She lived in Cork in Ireland and made a school for 30 poor children.
Nano Nagle formed the Presentation Sisters and they followed her lead by making schools for all. They would always plant a seed when they formed a school. “The seed is planted and the oak, symbol of the Presentation Sisters, spreads its shelter to the entire world.”
I think the Presentation Sisters wanted to show a symbol of love and shelter throughout Launceston.
The cork tree is now in quite poor condition.
When the cork oak was younger it was much healthier than it is now. It could even fit all the school children under it and was a great place to keep out of the sun.
It had more leaves and the colour of the tree was darker. Now it looks burnt.
People didn't want to cut the cork tree down because it is very old. It would have to have surgery, so it would come back to life. Unfortunately, some parts got cut off.
Six months before it had surgery it had ants all over it. People had to keep out of the area at the time.
I asked people at the school what they think about the cork tree now.
The principal, Mr Wilson, said that for him “the tree is significant, because of its age and the place it resides in our school. I often thought it would be good if it could tell stories about all it has seen and heard over the years.”
“I love the cork tree,” Yvonne a teacher assistant for 27 years said.
“When I first started in 1991 the tree was very beautiful, it had huge branches and lots of leaves. The children were definitely not allowed to climb in it.
“I remember the kinders sitting in the shade under it having lunch.
“We had a church service under it as well. I look at it now and remember what it once was.”
The cork tree is strong, and the roots are like an anchor holding the tree in its spot.
I believe that people will care for the cork tree as they care for each other at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary school because the school’s roots are from Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters.
Hugh won the Grade 4 section of the Launceston Historical Society History Prize