Shepparton’s Furphy Tree legacy will live on

By Tara Whitsed

A tree famously planted by Joseph Furphy in Shepparton 100 years ago will be partially removed.

The heritage-listed Furphy Tree, planted by the successful author and bullock team driver in Welsford St, died some years ago.

But at the site, a self-sown small tree has since established itself in the surrounding garden, meaning the tree will continue to live on.

Greater Shepparton City Council’s parks, sports and recreation manager Timothy Zak said the goal was to continue to honour Joseph Furphy.

‘‘The council arboriculture team recently held a meeting with Bianca Furphy, relative of Joseph, to discuss the possibility of retaining part of the trunk for a sculpture of some kind that does not detract away from the two existing sculptures,’’ he said.

‘‘After consultation with the family, they are happy with the decisions that council makes around the tree’s prune, so a sculpture can be done down the track.’’

Ms Furphy, who has been a key figure in the family’s communications with the council, said the Furphy Tree’s legacy would continue in the self-seeded offspring tree.

‘‘Over the years the tree has been the casualty of its age and life in an urban environment and slowly started to die,’’ she said.

‘‘In 2005, with the help of council, we lobbied to create a garden around the tree.

‘‘In that process we commissioned the two sculptures that are there today, and because of this garden the tree has been given space to re-seed itself and create its offspring.’’

Joseph Furphy moved to Shepparton in 1883 after spending time as a bullock driver in Hay, NSW.

On his travels he collected seeds and planted them upon his return. Those seeds later grew into the Furphy Tree, now producing its own descendants.

A design for the stump of the tree is being discussed.