Walking Beechworth encompasses a diverse landscape of granite, gorge, lake and town, bordered by historic park, allowing the visitor a range of natural beauty.
Walking Mayday Hills
On the tallest hill overlooking the town is Mayday Hills, once a State Lunatic Asylum. Although now in private hands, you may walk there, knowing that its grounds and plantings are recognized as one of the most important botanic heritage settings in Victoria.
Many individual trees are listed as ‘significant’ because of their age, size, rarity of species or form, aesthetics, habitat, or cultural value. There is a choice of three walks which will identify these trees for you, guiding you through avenues of heritage oaks, around an historic cricket oval bordered by eucalypts, over lawns with stunning exotic conifers and across fields where you pass unusual maples en route to the heritage Ha-Ha Wall or the nearby rare American White Oak (Quercus alba).
You may view the super tall Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) at 50 metres, the Bunya Bunya (Araucaria bidwillii) with one of the largest trunks in Australia at 7.2m circumference, the Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the Azalea-bordered Karume Bowl, the one-holed (welded) Oak, the 11-trunked Lawsons Cyprus (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana), the evergreen Macedon Oak (Quercus firthii) and its two unusual tallprogeny, the Gladstone Oaks (recently named after Mayday’s head gardener), and exceptional Sir Robert Peel Rhododendrons, survivors since1936, glorious in spring.
Walking Beechworth town and gardens
Beechworth offers magnificent old avenues and a surprisingly large number of parks and gardens with plantings which began in the 1860’s and continue to the present day. The Town Hall Gardens, Chinese Gardens, Queen Victoria Park, Wallace Park and the Ovens Goldfields Hospital Park contain many specimens of exotic trees protected by heritage regulations.
The three self-guided tree walks will lead you around the lanes and parks, past old churches and Victorian timber cottages, under avenues of elms and oaks, through a conifer arboretum, and along side a lake and creek now replanted with native and exotic vegetation but originally part of the Beechworth gold fields.
Many trees are to be listed on the Indigo Shire’s Significant Tree Register as having exceptional historical, botanical or cultural value. Their place within the built environment reflects the importance in the Victorian era of town planning for a community, wealthy in gold and civic pride.
Beechworth Treescape Group
The Beechworth Treescape Group comprises community volunteers, passionate to preserve and share Beechworth’s unique heritage treescapes. This heritage dates from 1869 when the local Council initiated tree plantings, lining its wide planned streets with both native and exotic species. Many trees were supplied by Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller, Victoria’s famous first Government Botanist.
In the 1890’s, a visitor wrote:
From a distance, the summer aspect of Beechworth is that of a town embowered in luxuriant foliage, while an interior view presents to the eye long vistas of stately trees bordering the footpaths, and forming an umbrageous canopy beneath whose continuous shade the pedestrian may pursue his way in comfort.
Warm summers but cold winters highlight the diversity of colour and texture in foliage and form of the trees which live side by side with stone cottages and hand-hewn granite-lined gutters. Their familiarity reassured the pioneers who longed for European landscapes and this appreciation of trees continues with residents and visitors alike who can enjoy vistas planted up to 150 years ago, side by side with native species and new additions.
The May Day Hills project was awarded Keep Australia Beautiful Tidy Towns State Winner Victoria Protection of the Environment 2014 and Indigo Shire Heritage Awards Winner Individual Heritage Advocacy 2016.
The information contained in the maps represents current knowledge. We welcome contact from you at any time regarding the trees of Beechworth.