Trimming of Historic “Slave Tree” for Safety Reasons

One of the largest and oldest trees in the Southern Hemisphere, known as the “slave tree,” approximately 212 years old, has been trimmed for safety reasons. This tree has been a sentry, overlooking the many visitors to the George Tourism Office, situated at 124 York Street, since its inception. 

The Quercus Robur (English oak) tree, popularly known as the slave tree, is located at the George tourism office and was #29 on the list of Champion trees. However, it was de-listed after the tree was damaged by the elements in recent years.

Planted in 1811 with the establishment of George, this oak tree has been central to an urban legend and dubbed the ‘Old Slave Tree’ due to the thick chain and lock, firmly lodged into the base of the tree.  However, in 1811, when slaves were emancipated, the tree was but a sapling, the roller for the lawn tennis court that once stood in front of the girls’ school, was chained to the tree, and the relic of that was left in the tree. 

Over the years, the tree has deteriorated, and its falling dead branches have become a hazard to people and property. Consequently, the George Municipality undertook the pruning of these dead branches.

Discussions are ongoing to find a possible way to preserve what remains of this tree, which plays a significant role in the history of George.

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