Edward Forde’s watercolour painting of the Lennox headland, dating from about 1850.
State Library of NSW
Edward Forde’s watercolour painting of the Lennox headland, dating from about 1850. State Library of NSW

Lennox project to save tree so rare only 10 adults are left

A FOUR-year project to save one of the world's rarest trees is under way in Lennox Head.

Coastal fontainea are so rare that only 10 adult trees are left in the world and they are all around the Lennox Head area.

The trees are on two sites - nine on a private property and the other on Ballina Shire Council land.

Rhonda James from Bush Regeneration Services manages the On the Edge project.

She said they thought earlier there were nine male trees and one female.

"But now it appears that several of what we supposed were males could be females," she said.

Ballina mayor David Wright, Member for Ballina Don Page and Rhonda James from Bushland Restoration Services plant one of the highly endangered species, the coastal fontainea.
Ballina mayor David Wright, Member for Ballina Don Page and Rhonda James from Bushland Restoration Services plant one of the highly endangered species, the coastal fontainea. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

On the Edge is a recovery program for the littoral rain forest and grassy headland in Lennox Head.

Ballina MP Don Page said the project was "part of a bigger picture".

It is being funded by a $5 million State Government program called Saving Our Species.

"It is specifically designed to save our endangered species and the coastal fontainea is critically endangered," Mr Page said.

"The big picture is that this particular site has been the subject of a lot of environment protection over the last decade."

A few years ago, Malcolm Milner of Lennox Head Landcare saw a black and white sketch of the Lennox area drawn by Edward Forde.

After further research, Mr Milner learnt Forde was a surveyor and amateur painter and he came across one of his watercolour paintings of the Lennox headland, looking from the south. It has been dated to about 1850.

Mr Milner says he was interested in the view of the vegetation and the change of the coastline.

"You can see clearly the difference of the coastline and how it was eroded by the sea," he said.

The watercolour has been helpful to environmental workers in guiding restoration works on the headland.


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