Southbank’s first Christmas tree taken down before December even arrives
Southbank’s very first official Christmas tree has been taken down after being deemed unsafe just weeks after its installation at Boyd Park.
Standing seven metres tall, the striking tree was put up to help create a more festive vibe within the Southbank area.
The incident behind its removal came to the attention of the City of Melbourne on Friday, November 18. In a statement to Southbank News, the council confirmed that it involved an “unwell individual who was under the influence of substances”.
After learning of the incident, Victoria Police and emergency services were notified by the council to offer support to the affected individual, but not before extensive damage was caused to the tree.
“The Christmas tree was destroyed beyond repair, and it also presented an occupational health and safety risk to the public, so was safely removed,” a statement provided by the council said.
The arrival of the tree was a much-anticipated occasion for many Southbank residents, with Southbank3006 residents’ group vice president Jannine Pattison stating it was “exciting when [their] dream was realised”.
“In 2021 I approached the Lord Mayor Sally Capp and requested better Christmas decorations for Southbank, and in particular, a Christmas tree,” Ms Pattison said.
“It is incredibly sad, but for the actions of a single individual, all residents suffer. I saw so many families taking pictures of the beautiful tree. It is very disappointing to have seen it damaged and removed.”
The Christmas tree was planned to be the centrepiece for the upcoming “A Very Merry Friend-Mas in Southbank” event, hosted by Southbank3006 as part of the CoM’s Christmas Collective program.
Ms Pattison said the tree’s arrival had been “super exciting” for Southbankers, who in previous years were left with minimal Christmas decorations while other suburbs continued to overflow with them.
“The Christmas tree had been embraced by a community often bereft of festive inclusion, and this year was looking to be different,” Ms Pattison said.
“The tree was a symbol that the City of Melbourne was listening to the community, understanding that Southbank is more than a collection of high-rise buildings, that Southbank is a community of families, couples, and individuals craving for a connected neighbourhood feel.”
Southbank residents can still make the most of celebrating the festive season with live music, lawn games, face painting, salsa dancing, a dog parade, and a special visit from Santa to feature as part of Southbank3006’s Christmas event.
The community event will be held at the Boyd Community Hub on December 10, from 11am to 3pm. •