Oak Planting with Robb Robinson and Vic Swetez UNI_7193 copy

From Perth with love…

An oak tree grown from an acorn flown over from Perth, Australia has been planted in the grounds of the University of Hull.

The tree was the last to be put in the ground of six oaks germinated from acorns sent over from Tranby House, which was built by some of the first settlers to Western Australia.

The acorns came from two giant oaks which were planted at Tranby House using acorns taken over from East Yorkshire by the early settlers from this area.

Tranby House was named after the ship which took the settlers from this region to settle Western Australia.

The Tranby sailed from the dock which is now Queen’s Gardens in September 1829. The vessel carried 39 passengers and 14 crew, as well as farm animals and all their agricultural equipment.

Eight months later, the Tranby docked at Gages Road on the mouth of the Swan River where some of the first settlers to Western Australia unloaded their worldly belongings.

They also carried acorns, brought from back home.

The majority of settlers stayed on the Swan River in a place called Peninsula.

One of these was the Hardey family, who built a farmhouse and worked the land. They named their home after the boat which brought them to Australia.

Within the grounds of Tranby House, they planted two acorns which grew into great oak trees.

Today Tranby House still exists and is one of the oldest houses in Western Australia. It is now owned and looked after by the National Trust for Western Australia.

The story of the early settlers to Western Australia formed chapter in a series of short accounts of Hull and East Yorkshire’s historic global links pulled together by Dr Robb Robinson, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Hull, in a collection called Far Horizons, From Hull to the Ends of the Earth.

The collection was housed on a website of the same name where a couple in Western Australia, Chris and Geoff Ellis, read the story and contacted Dr Robinson. 

These trees are a real piece of living history and they really exemplify the roots of this city and the international nature of this University. Dr Robb Robinson, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Hull 

He said: “They said they would like to visit Tranby House and I said to them if you look in the grounds, there are two giant oaks grown from acorns which the settlers took over with them.

“Three weeks later, a box of acorns arrived through the letterbox.”

Dr Robinson took them to the Botanic Gardens to Victor Swetez, University horticulturalist, where 20 of the acorns germinated.

Dr Robinson sent some to villages across East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire where the settlers came from.

Six trees were kept to be planted in the University grounds.

The final tree was planted this week on the lawn in front of the Venn Building.

Robb Robinson, historian, said: “These trees are a real piece of living history and they really exemplify the roots of this city and the international nature of this University. We managed to get these trees planted because of co-operation across continents. People have come together to bring this piece of history back to where it came from. Oak trees have a long life and these trees will mature and tell the story of the first settlers to Western Australia and the international links of this University.”

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