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Photographs supplied by Peter Williams

The Tree of Knowledge pays tribute to the original tree whic was located at the site and the early hard-working fishermen from Watson's Bay.  The plaque was unveiled by restauranteur and businesswoman Alice Doyle in 1991. 

Watsons Bay was long a base for fishermen – in the first half of the twentieth century they would sell their catch from around the tree near the end of the Watsons Bay wharf. Some, like several Portuguese and the African American 'Black Peter', had arrived in Sydney as crew of foreign vessels and decided to stay. The wharf has been a base for game fishermen, and host to famous visitors, including American writer Zane Grey in the 1930s.





Address:Military Road & Marine Parade, near Doyles Restaurant, Watsons Bay , 2030
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.843363
Long: 151.281878
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Tree
Monument Theme:Technology


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:January-1991
Front Inscription

The Tree of Knowledge

On this spot stood the Old Fig Tree. Around 1900 it had a Clinker Box chained to it into which the embers from the boiler of the ferry at night were dumped. Despite this, the tree flourished.

Local fishermen used to set up their tables around it, carrying on learned discourse and sometimes satirical comment on the state of the nation and events of the day during the course of their catch. 

Among the more colourfully named were Barney 'One Leg Up One Leg Down' Roames - a Portugese who wore two gold ear-rings and a Beaver hat. 'Bullfighter' Harry Thomas, 'Bowyang' Freddie Lamb, 'Black' Peter, 'Nugget' Newton and his brothers George and Walter - The most prominently dressed fish seller and always Bowler- hatted 'Aspro' Barnes and his foil 'Headache' Willow Anderson, Frank and Ray Thomas, the Driscoll Brothers, Jack Crabtree, Jack Marks, Wilkie Schweers, the Abbott Brothers, Jack and Jim Smith, Dick Palmer, Billy Love, Bill Brown, Phil Farmer, Jimmy Chaplin, Eddie Brook and Allen Edwards. 

The present tree has been placed here to give tribute to these colourful, proud, hard-working people of the 'Bay'.

Woollahra Municipal Council       January 1991

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au