With a neat historical twist, the tree presented to Benalla Rural City Council was planted by Dulcie Mitchell who is descended from Hamilton Hume’s sister. Ms Mitchell was accompanied by representatives from Benalla Rural City Council and the Tatong Heritage Group, and the planting site is adjacent to the Hume Hovel monument on the Tatong – Tolmie Road.
Albury City Council gave a specimen cloned from the Hume and Hovell tree to the Council and each of the other 20 local government areas from Yass to Geelong, through which Hume and Hovell travelled during their historic expedition.
“This was a very generous gift from Albury City Council,” said Benalla Rural City Mayor Cr Barbara Alexander. “It’s a very creative way of protecting the history of the expedition, and acknowledging the importance of all the areas that Hume and Hovell travelled through. I hope that our residents will take the opportunity to visit the tree and the monument and learn a bit more about the role we have played in Australia’s exploration history.”
Andrea Stevenson from the Tatong Heritage Group said that when the Council approached them about the opportunity, they felt that the Hume and Hovell Monument was a very appropriate setting.
“The tree is a living monument to the first white people to come through this area,” Ms Stevenson said. “It reminds us of the incredible journey the explorers took through what was quite heavy terrain, with their wagon and all their supplies. Because you think of them passing by here not long after carving their initials in the tree in Albury, it reminds you clearly of their achievement.”
The cloned tree is a River Red Gum cross with a Blakely's Red Gum and is 1 of 100 that have been successfully grown.