Iconic Moffat Beach fig tree under threat

The Fig tree at the Moffat Beach playground is suffering from poor health.William Borleise,3, plays around the tree.
The Fig tree at the Moffat Beach playground is suffering from poor health.William Borleise,3, plays around the tree. Warren Lynam

A DECADES-old fig tree now the "symbol" of a seaside town is under threat of a fungal disease.

The fate of the tree in Moffat Beach playground is the talk of the town, with a community member contacting the Daily concerned for its future and locals noticing some degradation.

Sunshine Coast Council confirmed a consulting arborist believes the local landmark, planted in 1955, was infected with a fungal pathogen that invades the roots of woody trees.

For the first time in five years, local Pete Burton has noticed something "obviously" wrong on its left side and top as he looked out from work towards the ocean.

 

The Fig tree at the Moffat Beach playground is suffering from poor health.Pete Burton from the Moffat Beach Brewing Co. expressing is sadness at trees decline.
Pete Burton from the Moffat Beach Brewing Co. said he looks out at the massive fig tree every day, but has noticed its declining health in recent weeks. Warren Lynam

He said to see it go would be "gut-wrenching" as it was the reason people came to town and even features in his employer's logo, the Moffat Brewing Co.

"I was looking at it the other day, I take a lot of photos from the brewery with a beer in the foreground, and I noticed it's got quite a bad die-off on one side and on the top," he said.

"A couple of regulars who live around Moffat have commented on it, said it seemed to have happened over the winter. A year ago and it looked fine.

"It's very much a Moffat Beach symbol, hopefully they can do something."

Would Moffat Beach be the same without its iconic fig tree?

This poll ended on 24 August 2018.

Current Results

No! It's part of the playground and makes the park what it is.

40%

Yes, the area would still be special without it.

20%

I'm not sure, but the kids would miss climbing it.

40%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The council spokesman said they were committed to "improving the health and longevity" of the tree, and the department of Agriculture and Fisheries was testing its vegetative material.

They said a health program is being developed in the hopes of improving the surrounding soil conditions and biology, which includes deep watering and organic soil conditioner.

"Council will continue to closely monitor the situation and take any appropriate action that is needed to safely retain the tree in its current location," they said. 

Sunshine Coast Council built a $30,000 children's play area under the fig tree in March, 1998.

Nearby business Shine Boutique employee Victoria Davies, 19, has fond childhood memories there.

 

The Fig tree at the Moffat Beach playground is suffering from poor health.Pete Burton from the Moffat Beach Brewing Co. expressing is sadness at trees decline.
Pete Burton from the Moffat Beach Brewing Co. expresses his sadness over the local iconic fig tree's decline. Warren Lynam

"I have lived here my whole life, and I used to play on that tree as a kid," she said.

"I love that tree, like most people my age probably do or did."

According to the Sunshine Coast Libraries' cultural heritage team, the Bentley family brought the fig tree north from Malanda on the Atherton Tablelands on a visit to the Sunshine Coast when the seedling was less than one-metre tall.

Mr Bentley, a park ranger with the Landsborough Shire Council, planted it in March 1955.

The Fig tree at the Moffat Beach playground is suffering from poor health.
Council has started a "health program” for the fig tree at the Moffat Beach, which a consulting arborist believes is suffering a fungal infection. Warren Lynam