About the Norwood Cork Tree

HISTORY OF QUERCUS suber Edward St.Coles Car Park Norwood

Origin – Western Mediterranean, Portugal. Average lifespan 200 years.
Not common in Australia. Some plantings in Botanic Gardens and Waite Arboretum after 1923. Not usual in a domestic garden. Culturally significant as it was planted by Henry Buttery in his residential garden in 1892.

The original Buttery residence was kept until 1976 when the business (furniture factory)., home and adjoining properties were sold and incorporated into the redevelopment of Coke St. The application to demolish Buttery’s house and factory was lodged in 1977.

Henry Buttery was born in London in 1844. He and brother Richard with their wives and children left England for Australia on 13 October 1869. The sailed on the Hugh Fortescue, arriving in Adelaide  27/1/1870. Descendants of Henry Buttery claim he brought the cork oak tree with him on the ship.

In 1876 Henry Buttery purchased a property at 102 Osmond Tce. Norwood. In 1883 Henry purchased land on the Parade (section 276 Block44). He established a furniture making business and used the first steam powered machinery in S.A. He built a row of five shops from 158-166 The Parade. The facades are still retained. In 1891 fire destroyed his Coke St business but he purchased additional property fronting Edward St and rebuilt. This was block 45, later 74-76 Edwards St.

Henry and Sarah Buttery moved to the house at 74 Edward St in 1892 and it was during this period that Henry planted the cork oak tree at the rear of the family residence. It has been recorded by family members that Henry brought the tree to Adelaide on the Hugh Fortescue. Cork oaks are often cultivated in pots for many years as they grow so slowly and are then transplanted. Henry loved his garden and the tree was one of his treasures. Some family members claim Henry loved the tree more than his wife. The tree is located on Block 45 and is at the rear of the block which contained the former Buttery house which was demolished in 1977.

Upon redevelopment in 1978 of the Norwood Mall, the cork tree and other important trees were preserved. The retention of the cork oak testified to its importance as part of the cultural and historic  landscape of the site.

In 2000 an arborist examined the tree and determined that it was suffering from too little space around it which restricted air and water to the roots. Remedial action was taken by the Norwood Mall and car park owners.

There have been in the past several applications by the owners of the car park to remove important trees on the site by they have demurred at cutting down the cork oak tree. However the most recent plans show the removal of the cork oak tree and other mature trees adjacent to the car park in both George and Edward Streets.

by Carole Whitelock using material from the NP&SP Cultural Heritage Centre


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  2. I think Ted Tucker played drums there occasionally too. Demir Leather & Furniture

  3. Furniture retailer in Sydney, with stores in Auburn and Artarmon. Lounge furniture, living and dining room furniture, bedrooms, office furniture, homewares, lamps and. Demir Leather