Aussie World War II Veteran Fighting To Save 300-Year-Old Tree In Melbourne

As the world becomes more urbanised, unfortunately the first thing to go is the natural world. How the hell are you supposed to drive down a road when there are a bunch of plants in the way?

Melbourne is preparing itself for the construction of the North-West Link and there's an intersection that is attracting a lot of attention.

That's mainly because right in the middle of the path is a 300-year-old gum tree that has been earmarked for destruction to make way for the upgraded motorway.

However there is one man who's become the poster boy for keeping the big tree alive and he's a World War II veteran.

Nevin Phillips, 94, has been fighting the tree's removal for the better part of half a century, according to Melbourne radio station 3AW.

He spoke to hosts Ross and John about the first time he had to defend the tree being cut down: "I grabbed my Brno rifle out of the car, ran over and said 'Touch that tree and I'll kneecap you. A few minutes later the police arrived on their bikes."

Fifty years later, he's still fighting against the council and state government from lopping the tree.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allen said: "This is a matter that will be considered by the independent planning process.But we will await results before making any final determination."

Credit: Channel 9
Credit: Channel 9

The 20 metre tree was recently voted by the Royal Trust of Australia (Victoria) as the Victorian Tree of the Year.

Writing on Facebook, the Trust said: "We're excited to announce your 2019 Victorian Tree of the Year - the River Red Gum in Bulleen!

"The 300-year-old tree, measures at 20 metres high and was originally saved by a local resident when the rest of the block was cleared for the service station.

Credit: Channel 9
Credit: Channel 9

"With it facing possible removal to make way for the North East Link Project our team will be calling on the North East Link Authority to explore all options for it to be retained."

But it's not just a big tree that could be demolished to make way for the North-West Link. Approximately 75 homes and 140 businesses could have to be removed to allow for the project to go according to plan.

While Nevin said he wasn't allowed to keep up the fight with his rifle, he said he won't stop campaigning until the war is one.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 9

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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