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The Federal Oak was planted on 27 March 1890 by the 'Father of Federation', Sir Henry Parkes, to commemorate the 1890 Australasian Federation Conference held at Parliament House in Melbourne

The conference was attended by politicians from Australia’s six colonies and New Zealand and was one of the major steps towards Australian Federation. 

Thursday, last week, a day, doubtless, to be marked as a red-letter day in the Australian calendar— March 27th, 1890 — there was planted in front of the Parliament House, Melbourne (Melbourne to the federation front again) by the author of the federation movement, Sir Henry Parkes, an oak tree, to be known in all future history as "The Federal Oak." That is to say, when the oak has grown up, or rather, again, when both have grown up together, as of course it is to be hoped they may. But then again they may not. It may be only the symbol that will grow not the thing itself, and then what will become of this certainly, it would seem, somewhat prematurely planted federal oak tree?

Will it be pulled up by the roots or cut down as a useless thing cumbering the ground it was once hoped so beautifully to shade? Already, we understand, there is considerable speculation in sporting circles as to which will come to maturity first— and it takes a long time for an oak tree to mature —federation or the federal oak — with odds on the oak. But in the meantime perhaps a more serious question is, what will the Australian Natives Patriotic Association or our fire- eating friends in King-street say to this new insult to Australian nationality ?

Are there no trees of our own, like rivers in Syria, in the country, that we should choose for a living, growing symbol of the great, growing Australian nation a British oak ? Are we never to shake of our old, slavish dependence on the old country, that we cannot even plant a tree to mark a great Australian national event but it must necessarily be a British one ? Why choose an Imperial emblem, and the oak is that or nothing — "Our ships are British oak and hearts of oak our men "—instead of a truly national one of our own ? Why should we be content with a " Federal Oak" when we might and should have for our national tree that far nobler native "monarch of the forest,"  a Federal Gum ?
Freeman's Journal (Sydney), 5 April 1890.


Address:Spring Street, Parliamentary Gardens, East Melbourne, 3002
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.810411
Long: 144.973618
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Tree
Monument Theme:Government


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 27th March, 1890
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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