PLAQUE HON­OURS TREES

Balonne Beacon - - FRONT PAGE -

THE man who planted the jacaranda trees that line the en­trance to St Ge­orge Hospi­tal has been hon­oured with a spe­cial morn­ing tea and com­mem­o­ra­tion plaque.

Ron Schoen­fisch never imag­ined the plants he nur­tured from seedlings in the mid 1970s would grow to be­come an icon of the com­mu­nity.

“In 1975 the new hospi­tal was set to open, I had a hobby nurs­ery and was asked to join the hospi­tal’s land­scap­ing com­mit­tee,” Mr Schoen­fisch said.

“Jacaranda trees were sug­gested, as they are very pop­u­lar in St Ge­orge be­cause they are so beau­ti­ful and I went about gath­er­ing seeds from around town.

“I planted and grew them in a pot un­til they were big enough to be planted a few months later in the spot they still stand in today.

“I also set-up a wa­ter­ing sys­tem and in win­ter I would cover them un­til they were strong enough to with­stand the frost.”

The bril­liant, pur­ple trees are now a draw­card for vis­i­tors and lo­cals alike seek­ing a pic­turesque lo­ca­tion for a glam­orous photo shoot or a scenic selfie.

“Young peo­ple from schools get pho­tos amongst the trees dur­ing for­mal time and it’s be­come quite a high­light for tourists too.

“They are flow­er­ing at this time of year, which makes it the best time to see them and ev­ery­body loves a jacaranda tree.”

Mr Schoen­fisch said he never ex­pected any ac­co­lades for his con­tri­bu­tion to the St Ge­orge Hospi­tal grounds.

“I just did it be­cause it was some­thing that needed to be done, I re­ally en­joy the jacaranda trees and it’s a nice mem­ory for my fam­ily.

St Ge­orge Direc­tor of Nurs­ing Pa­trice Robin­son said Mr Schoen­fisch’s legacy was very spe­cial to the com­mu­nity.

“Mr Schoen­fisch has cre­ated a stun­ning en­vi­ron­ment ad­mired by all who visit the hospi­tal,” she said.

“Vol­un­teer­ing to help his lo­cal hospi­tal has had such a long-last­ing im­pact and it’s a won­der­ful ex­am­ple of what help­ing your com­mu­nity can achieve.

“Although he has never asked to be ac­knowl­edged, I thank Mr Schoen­fisch for his work and hope the jacaranda trees con­tinue to blos­som for many gen­er­a­tions to come.”

The plaque ac­knowl­edg­ing Ron Schoen­fisch is lo­cated at the front of the St Ge­orge Hospi­tal Av­enue of jacaran­das.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

BLOOM­ING: St Ge­orge Direc­tor of Nurs­ing Pa­trice Robin­son with Ron Schoen­fisch and his wife Beryl Schoen­fisch.

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