Dungog’s Iconic Weeping Lilly Pillys
The removal of invasive woody weeds from the banks of the Williams River at Abbott’s Flat has uncovered one of Dungog’s secret treasures – the magnificent ancient Weeping Lilly Pillys, previously obscured by the invasion of privet which had grown in such numbers and size that the massive trunks of the Weeping Lilly Pillys could barely be seen.
There are many species of Lilly Pilly. These trees are specifically Waterhousea floribunda or Syzygium floribundum, commonly known as the Weeping Lilly Pilly and likely coined because of the habit of their leaves and branches to weep down creating magnificent shade and habitat for all kinds of native animals. There are many hollows in these trees which are an indication of their age as hollows take a long time to form in a tree. Some local experts have estimated them to be 500 to a 1,000 years old. They have grooved and contorted trunks. At the river level you can see the fascinating cages and ladders of the tree’s root systems which are binding the river bank together however in places on the river bank where there are no trees erosion and slumping is increasing with the constant impact of cattle grazing which could result in the eventual undermining of the root systems and the ancient trees falling.
Everyone in Dungog can celebrate the fact that the town’s wonderful iconic trees can be seen again and hopefully soon can be visited more easily. In August 2023 the Dungog Council approved the draft Open Spaces and Recreation Plan where a walking trail around Abbotts Flat is planned to go right past these trees.