Daryl Levy was disappointed when the silky oak died but has put the wood to good use.
Daryl Levy was disappointed when the silky oak died but has put the wood to good use. Renee Pilcher

Second life for old silky oak tree

OLD branding irons marked a timber slab in a symbolic event to celebrate the memory of the big old tree that gave the popular Silky Oak Tea Gardens at Kia Ora its name.

In honour of the region's farmers, Daryl and Helen Levy invited livestock owners and people who owned heirloom brands to bring them along and stamp the new bar top for their establishment.

The large silky oak tree that had stood in the middle of the beer garden died after being hit by lightning last year. It was the only silky oak tree on the property, planted in the 1960s.

To preserve the timber, it was felled before borers got to it and then milled into pieces for the new bar, including a long slab for a new bar top.

Before they raised it, farmers and residents from far and wide came out of the woodwork to brand the bar with symbols representing many generations of life on the land.

Cattle farmers Henry and Daryl Richards of Kia Ora stamped the brand that has identified their stock for 34 years. They still run a few head of cattle on their farm.

Ken Buchanan dug out an old branding iron from the back of a cupboard - made for his father when he bought a farm at Goomboorian in the 1950s. They and many others stamped the symbols to help create a piece of history.

The gardens have also enjoyed the recent tropical weather and Daryl has filled the gap left by the silky oak with a rainforest fern garden. A large limb from the silky oak has been fixed into the centre of the garden for the ferns to grow on.

Karaoke and muso jams are held regularly along with live music.

Tonight Buzz Karaoke gets the place going from 7pm and Billy Guy entertains on Sunday from midday-4pm. Gympie Cabs can drop off groups and pick them up in a maxi taxi for around $100.

Gympie Times


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