Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Engineer Who Loved Trees

Roy Everard Ross was the Shire Engineer and Building Surveyor for the Buln Buln Shire for 21 years from 1925 to 1946. On one of his trips overseas in the 1930s, he brought back from South Africa some seeds of the Cape Chestnut tree, Calodendrum capenses. The seeds were cultivated and the young trees were planted along the Princes Highway at the western entrance to Drouin.

Four trees were planted on the north side of the highway. One was moved as a mature tree in the late 1960s (to make way for a petrol station). It was replanted in Lampards Road outside what was to have been the new home for the Buln Buln Shire offices. The trees on the south side of the highway were planted from seed later in the 1960s.

These trees bear prolific pink flowers in summer, covering the entire crown of the tree making a spectacular display. They were on the State Register during the years of the Buln Buln Shire.

Interestingly R. E. Ross also became the Shire Engineer for Warragul and Narracan Shires, and was also the manager of the joint quarry committee. He moved to Melbourne in 1959 and went on to become a wealthy property investor and owner of Bayview Quarries.

Ross was passionate about trees and one of his great interests was conservation. As part of the R E Ross Trust, (external link), contributions to bodies such as The Trust for Nature has allowed for large tracts of private land to be purchased for public use.

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