Home - Chermside & District History

Trees in Chermside Parks

Acknowledgement of Source

I have used the Queensland Museum Booklet No. 6 "Eucalypts of the Brisbane Region" 1972 - H. T. Clifford and M. A. McKenzie as an authoritative source of data.

The publication has helped me to identify some of the many species of Eucalypts in the parks from Marchant Park at Webster Road, Aspley, through 7th Brigade Park, along Downfall Creek via Heinrich Gerns Park to the railway station at Virginia.

E. tereticornis - the tallest tree in the parks?

Trees E. teriticornis 7th Brig. Pk. Tallest

This beauty stands alone on the west side of the nearby Downfall Creek near the footbridge and Reinhold Street. It overshadows the surrounding trees in 7th Brigade Park.

Height: 43 m Circumference: 420 cm

Diameter: 135 cm (Calculated from Circumference)

Age:(Based on Diameter) 135 years

The Dating system is offered by Woody Woodpekers Certified Arborists, Brisbane.

E. tereticornis - Blue Gum

Trees Eucalyptus Teriticornis Blue Gum 2

Height: 23 m (Estimate)

Diameter at base: 92 cm

This magnificent specimen of E. tereticornis is in Marchant Park beside Ellison Road, Aspley where the bike track begins the climb up to Kirby Road. When seen in the morning sun the bark shines as it is smooth bark and therefore is a Gum Tree. Not all Eucalypts are gums there are half barks, box barks, ironbarks, spotted barks and stringy barks.

E. tereticornis - Blue Gum -Second View

Trees E. tereticornis in Mar. Pk. Ellison Rd

This is what the cyclist sees when standing on the pedals and pulling on the bars to climb the steep pinch on the track. You look at the concrete and count the slabs with a quick look at 'big silver' every so often. It really helps.

The track gets even steeper around the bend where you make the final climb up to Kirby Road, you count a lot of slabs on that stretch. But coming down is great and so easy as long as your brakes are in top condition.


Trees Blue Gum Leaves 2

Leaves are pale green, long and narrow, lanceolate


Trees Blue Gum E. Tereticornis Bark

The smooth Gum type bark has the blue colour which gives the tree its common name.

Blue Gums have red wood.

Trees E. tereticornis showing red wood

This photo shows the bluish coloured bark and the bright red wood where some branches have been pruned.

E. irornbark melanophoia - Silver Leaf Ironbark

Trees Eucalyptus Ironbark Silver Leaf

Height:12.6 m Calculated by using one of the 3 m rails in the fence at the bottom of the photo.

Diameter at base would have been about 61 cm

This photo was taken in 2013 when the Ironbark was standing beside Jefferis St., Virginia with Downfall Creek and Virginia State School nearby. Unfortunately it had disappeared by 2016. I have been looking for another specimen in the parks but, so far without success.

Trees Eucalyptus Ironbark Silver Leaf - Leaves

The leaves are ovate in shape rather than the long pointed (lancolate) leaves on most Eucalypts.

Trees Eucalyptus Ironbark Silver Leaf - Bark

The bark is typical of the Ironbarks being extremely rugged, very thick and most appropriately named. It protects the living wood from fire which is endemic to Australian forests. The red colour in the fissures is Kino the red sap of the tree.

E. ironbark

Trees Eucalyptus Ironbark

There are three species of Ironbark in the Brisbane area apart from the Silver Leaf specimen above.

Height: 34 m

Diameter at base: 61 cm

Located in 7th Brigade Park, on Newman Rd. almost opposite Lauren St.


Trees E. Ironbark 7th Bdg.Pk. Newman Rd.

Still working on this one, the leaves are very high up.


Trees Eucalyptus Ironbark Bark

The distinctive bark is black, extremely rough and hard as iron; just run your fingers over it. It acts as a protection for the living wood inside especially in bush fires. It shreds off in small pieces.

E. maculata - Spotted Gum

Trees Maculata - Spotted Gum

Height: 28 m

Diameter at base: 50 cm


Trees Maculata Spotted Gum - Bark


Trees Maculara Spotted Gum

E. microcorys - Tallowwood

Trees E. microcorys Tallowwood

Height: 17 m

Diameter at base: 61 cm

This rather short specimen is beside the bike track in Gerns Park on Downfall Creek east of Newman Rd. Wavell Heights.

The dark patch on the white concrete of the bike way is tallow washed by rain from the leaves on to the concrete. This is a very slow process as the bike way is at least ten yearsold replacing an earlier and narrower one.


Trees E. microcorys Leaves

Lanceloate - long and narrow - pale green


Trees E. microcorys Leaves

Rather stringy and spongy with a swirling pattern. It falls off in small flakes.

E. moluccana - Gum-topped Box

Trees E. moluccana Gum-topped Box

Located beside the shelter at No.8 oval in Marchant Park beside Ellison Rd., it towers over the area.

The species was first described from one growing in the Kolkata (Calcutta) Botanic Gardens and thought to have come from the Moluccas Archipelago in Indonesia

Height: 33 m

Diameter at base: 91 cm


Trees E. moluccana leaves

Broad lanceolate, dark green,

Upper Bark

E. moluccana Upper Bark

The Gum Topped Box has smooth white gum bark on the upper parts of the tree where the bark peels off in long strings.

Lower Bark

Trees E. moluccana Lower Bark

The lower few metres of the bark is fibrous, brown, rough and shreds in small pieces.

E. propinqua - Grey Gum

Trees E. propinqua - Grey Gum

Located on Webster Rd. at the northern end of Marchant Park.

Height: 24 m

Diameter at base 66 cm


E. propinqua Grey Gum Leaves

Bark 1

E. propinqua Grey Gum Bark 1

Bark 2

E. propinqua Grey Gum Bark 2

E. robusta - Swamp Messmate

Trees E.robusta - Swamp Messmate

Height: 20 m

Diameter at base: 76 cm

Located in 7th Brigade Park beside the bicycle track near the Chermside Historical Precinct. There are a few specimens in the vicinity. These two are beside a large Poinciana tree (Delonix Regia - Royal Poinciana) which is in the left background.


Trees E. robusta Leaves


Trees E. robusta Bark

E. seeana - Narrow Leaf Grey Gum

Trees E.seeana Narrow Leaf Red Gum

Height 24 m

Measurement at base 66 cm & 106 cm

Located in 7th Brigade Park, on Delaware St. Geebung in front of the Geebung Hub Disability Support Services workshop.

Named after Sir John See (1844-1907) who was Premier of N.S.W. (1901-1904).


Trees E.seeana Narrow Leaf Red Gum

The leaves are long and narrow giving the tree a weeping appearance.


E.seeana Narrow Leaf Red Gum

The bark is smooth Gum bark and the grey colour gives the common name for the tree.

E. torelliana - Cadagi

Trees E. torelliana - Cadagi Mar. Pk.

Located beside the parking lot at the Canteen in Marchant Park.

Height: 19 m

Diameter at base: 79 cm

This picturesque tree is a native of the Cairns region of Queensland and is one of the few species of Eucalyptus to grow in the rainforest. It is named after an Italian, Count Luigi de Torelli, a member of the Italian senate who promoted the use of eucalypts in Italy. I think it was used in the draining of the notorious Pontine Marshes, south of Rome. The marsh was a source of malaria for thousands of years till it was turned into cropland in the 1930s.


Trees Torellania Leaves 300.jpg

The leaves are bright green and shine brightly in the sunlight


Trees E. torelliana Bark

A rough bark stocking at the base gives way to a smooth green bark on the trunk and onto the branches.

E. intermedia - Pink Bloodwood

Trees E. intermedia-Pink Bloodwood

Located near the Aspley Scout Hall in Marchant Park.

Height: 26 m

Diameter at base: 60 cm


Trees E. intermedia - Pink Bloodwood - Leaves


Trees E. intermedia - Pink Bloodwood - Bark

E. tessellaris - Moreton Bay Ash or Carbeen

Trees E. tessellaris-Moreton-Bay-Ash-or-Carbeen-540.jpg

This tree is found between No. One Oval and Gympie Road in Marchant Park.

Height: 19 m

Diameter at base: 36 cm

The tree clearly shows the rough chip bark stocking at the base and smooth green gum bark above.


Trees E.tessellaris - Moreton Bay Ash - Avenue beside Murphy Rd.

This little avenue is on the bike track in Marchant Park beside Murphy Road near the Roundabout.


Trees E. tessellaris - Moreton Bay Ash - Leaves


Tree E. tessellaris - Moreton Bay Ash - Bark

These are half barks with a stocking of rough small chip bark at the base and with green smooth bark above.

The stocking gives the name to the tree as tessellariis translates as 'small tile'.

Erythrina crista galli - Cockspur Coral Tree

Trees Erythrina crista galli - Coral Tree

The tree is native to the southern part of South America and the blossom is the national flower of Argentina. It is regarded as a weed in Australia but the flowering is a real sight to see along with our other imports such as the Jacaranda and the Poinciana.

This specimen is at the junction of Downfall Creek and a smaller creek on the corner of A. R. C. Hill Park on Goss Road, Virginia.

Height: 12 m including the 2 m down in the creek; they like the creeks.

Diameter: Two trunks 30 cm each

Structure and Bark

Trees Erythrina crista galli - Structure and Bark

This structure is hidden by the leaves which come down to the ground. The bark is very rough and grooved somewhat like the ironbarks but not as dark.


Trees Erythrina crista galli - Leaves

Bright green and densely packed closing in the whole tree down to the ground. .


Trees Erythrina crista galli - Flower

Very spectacular, bright red and in great profusion. Not sure why they are called Cockspur when they look more like Cocks Combs.

Angophora Leiocarpa - Smooth Barked Apple

Trees Angopora Smooth Barked Apple

Height: 22 m

Diameter at base: 92 cm

Located in 7th Brigade Park beside Delaware St., Geebung

The branches of this tree manage to twist themselves into complicated shapes.


Trees Angophora - Smooth Barked Apple - Leaves


Trees Angophora Smooth Barked Apple Bark

This tree had a gash in the bark about 20 cm long and 10 cm wide. The bark slowly closed the gap and covered the wood, it took about 10 years. Today there is no sign of the opening.

Lophostemon Confertus - Brush Box

Trees E. lophostemon Brush Box

This specimen is located beside the shelter near the Marchant Park Memorial Gates. There many others in both parks and the Avenue of Honour in 7th Brigade Park is largely made with these trees.

Height: 23 m

Diameter at base:97 cm


Trees Lophostemon Brush Box Leaves


Trees Lophostemon Brush Box Bark

The bark is a form of tessellated or small chips (tiles) and does not peel off but rather shreds and falls in fine pieces.

Avenue of Honour

Trees Brush Box Avenue of Honour Delaware St.

The Avenue of Honour commemorates the sacrifice of those who fought for their country in all our wars. Some existing trees were incorporated into the Avenue in this older section. The Avenue was opened in November 2008.

Old Part of the Avenue of Honour

Trees Avenue of Honour - older part 2

New Part Avenue of Honour

Trees Av. of Hon. Volunteer Planting Tree

The trees selected for planting were Lophostemons or Queensland Brush Box. Many local people came and helped to plant the new trees. The Arborists drilled the holes and the volunteers put the tree in and filled in around it.

Hibiscus tiliaceus - Cottonwood

Trees Hibiscus tiliaceus - Cottonwood

The Cottonwood is a large spreading tree with a thick foliage which in parts sweeps right down to the ground over its surface roots.

This one is located on Gympie Rd. on top of the ridge that runs into Marchant Park. It is near the site of the old Kedron Shire Chambers after it was moved from its original location down beside Downfall Creek opposite Murphy Road at what became Vellnagel's Blacksmith premises 992 Gympie Rd.

Height: 15 m

Spread: N-S parallel to Gympie Rd., 18 m
E-W 90 degrees to Gympie Rd., 19 m.

Diameter at base: 76 mm


Trees Hibiscus tiliaceus - Cottonwood

The leaves are bright green and ovate in shape, they give the tree a cool appearance and provide deep shade.

Bark & Leaves

Trees Hibiscus tiliacus - Cottonwood

Under the tree is a green world with leaves growing profusely around the trunk. The bark is rough and brown which provides a contrast to the green leaves.


Trees Hibiscus tiliacus Bark

The lower part of the trunk has very rough bark and shows signs of age.

Ficus Benjamina - Weeping Fig - Java Willow

Trees Ficus Benjamina - Gerns Park

The Ficus benjamina is a stately tree growing up to 30 m high and very wide. Note the size of the park shelter on the left side, to get some idea of the tree size. I think this is a rather young specimen.

The species is native to Asia and Australia and is planted widely in many countries.

This one is on Downfall Creek about half a kilometre south of Newman Rd., There are several in a small string along the creek.

Height: 26 m

Spread of branches: 28 m

Diameter of trunk: 110 cm

Ficus benjamina - Root system

Trees - Ficus benjamina - Root system

The root system is extensive and shallow and with the shade the ground cannot support much grass cover.

The above ground roots cover a circular area of 17 m in diameter under the tree. How far they grow underground cannot be measured.

Trees - Ficus benjamina - Leaves

Trees Ficus benjamina - leaves

The leaves are short and ovate, they shine brightly in the sun and hang down in large clumps giving the foliage a weeping effect.

Strangler Fig

Trees Ficus benjamina as a Strangler Fig

This specimen is located beside a small creeklet at the lower end of Royal St., Virginia.

The whole complex consists of four parts: One old dead stump in the middle, with two younger trunks and the Strangler trunk on top of the old stump

It appears that the original tree was cut down and the stump remains with two smaller trunks one on each side. . The Strangler seed probably grew from bird droppings on the old stump and grew by sending down very thin aerial roots to the ground. In time these roots entered the ground, grew into much bigger, stronger roots and consolidated their grip.

The strangler gripped the right hand trunk and killed it while the trunk on the left is in the process of being gripped by the Strangler. The Strangler roots in the photo are 1.1 m in height.

This specimen is right beside the bike track and only a couple of metres from a house.

Ficus Lyrata; Fiddle Leaf Fig


The Lyrata is native to tropical rain forests West Africa and was probably brought to Australia on sailing ships.

It often grows from bird droppings in tree tops, putting aerial roots to the ground and strangling the host tree. I have not noticed any aerial roots on this tree so far.

This tree may be the only one in the local parks, at least I have not seen another, it is beside Magenta Street in Gerns Park off Newman Road.


Trees Ficus Lyrata Leaf

The leaf is 280 mm X 210 mm (10 ins. X 8 ins.) and the shape reminds people of the ancient Lyre that originated in very ancient Greece about 4,000 years ago. The emperor Nero is reputed to have played the lute during the great fire of Rome.

Leaves and Fruit

Trees Ficus Lyrata Leaves and Fruit

The fruit is green and about 4 cm in diameter.

Ripe Fallenl Fruit

Trees Lyrata Fruit with 50cent coin

This fruit is brownish and about 4 cm in diameter some has been squashed by passing cars.


Trees Lyrata Bark

The bark is grey in small chips with horizontal lines dividing the chips. Looks somewhat like small tiles.

Old Growth Forests and Secondary Growth Forests.

Old Growth Beneke's Bush
Benekes Bush at the Chermside Hospitals is a Secondary Growth Forest but it gives an idea of what the old forests looked like. They were dense masses of green with the largest trees rising above the canopy of the smaller trees. The only way though was to follow the traditional tracks of the Aboriginals. The only way through the forest was to follow the tracks used by the Aboriginals who had trodden them for thousands of years. One such track was that which the Aboriginal people walked to the triennial intertribal feast in the Bon-Yi Mountains. That track became the Old Northern Road which is a major road in Brisbane. It is ironic that this portion of timber which is being preserved is named after a family that made its living cutting down trees to supply wood for local people to use in their kitchen stoves.

An Old Growth Forest is one that has existed for a very long time and has reached a stage in which it is in equilibrium with its environment and is not changing. The trees grow and die and are replaced by similar trees.

There are no Old Growth Forests in the local area as they have been logged since White people arrived in the 19th Century with steel axes and saws. They wanted the timber for housing and fuel; they built saw mills powered by steam engines to mill the huge logs. All that remains of the once mighty forests is some large trees in our parks and other protected areas.

These trees were once too small to be useful for milling and were left to grow till they were big enough to mill.

Today we only have Secondary Growth Forests with a small number of these large trees scattered among the smaller secondary forest trees.

Old Growth of 19th Century

Old Growth Tree in 19th Century
Photo courtesy of the Queensland State Library. 24043p. The location is in the Atherton Tableland, North Queensland. 1890 - 1900. The age of the tree may be calculated by measuring the circumference of the tree at breast height or 137 cm from the ground. From this the diameter can be calculated which gives the age as one year for each centimeter in the diameter. How did I measure the diameter? I assumed the length of the axe the top man is holding is the same as mine ie 78 cm. Applying the visual length of the axe to the diameter of the tree at about the cut, I estimated the diameter to be approximately 166 cm and the age of the tree to be approximately 166 years. (With thanks to the Certified Aborists firm "Woody Woodpeckers Brisbane".)

Timber cutters and an old growth tree in an old growth forest in the 19th Century. The two youngish men, black beards, are preparing to fell the large tree and have erected a temporary scaffold of small tree stems from which they have made a preliminary cutting in the tree to determine its direction of fall.

It appears that they will have to build a second scaffold on the other side for the second man and they will use a long cross cut saw to fell the tree.

This is extremely dangerous work but they had to earn a living. The scaffold must be much more stable than it looks because a man swinging an axe or pushing and pulling a cross cut saw would severely test it.

Why do they cut so high above the ground in such a dangerous place? I can think of three reasons.

First they have less wood to cut through.

Second the felled log can be more easily dragged (snigged) through the bush to the bullock wagon and then loaded onto the wagon.

Third it would be impossible to slide the buttressed roots of the log over the saw bench in the saw mill.

Man and Cross Cut Saw.

Old Growth Man with a Cross Cut Saw
Photo courtesy of the Queensland State Library 20021p. Kargoorum Station, Beaudesert District, Queensland. 1920s.

The Cross Cut Saw was so named because it cut across the grain of the log held in the makeshift saw horse behind the man. A circular saw cuts along the grain ie. along the length of the log.

The man could have been a Digger in the Great War.

Remains of an Old Growth Forest

Old Growth Six Blue Gums
These five Blue Gums would have been too small to mill when the area was logged, possibly in the 19th Century. Left behind they continued to grow. Now they are protected.

Five Blue Gums in 7th Brigade. Park - a reminder of what the Old Growth forest trees looked like. Too small to mill when the area was logged they were left to grow and now they are just about 40 m high. Another one is just across Downfall Creek and is 43 m high which could make it the tallest tree in the parks.

The nearest Blue Gum would be about 118 years old ie vintage about 1900.

Secondary Growth Forest.

Old Growth Secondary Growth Forest near CHP.
Secondary Growth beside the bike track behind the Kittyhawk Drive High Rise Apartments.

Secondary growth near Chermside Historical Precinct off Kittyhawk Drive behind Estilo and Nature's Edge. Because the small trees allow a lot of sunlight through the grass grows rapidly and then dries off when the rain ceases. Unfortunately this attracts people who like to light fires and that happened to this area recently.

BCC Planted Secondary Growth

Old Growth BCC Planted Second Growth Forest
This plantation of Hoop Pines at the Gates of Marchant park is flanked on the right by a tall, recently lopped, Blue Gum which was left as a small tree when the area was logged. The pines are expected to grow as tall or taller than the Blue Gum.

Secondary Growth in Marchant Park.

Old Growth Secondary Growth near Kirby Rd.
Secondary Growth near Kirby Rd. in Marchant Park where it grows taller than elsewhere. Maybe the height of the land has something to do with it!

Close Growth of two trees

When two trees grow side by side so that their trunks merge together so that they look like one tree with two trunks.