Castlemaine’s English Oak crowned 2021 Victorian Tree of the Year


The English Oak (Quercus robur) at Castlemaine Botanic Gardens was named the 2021 Victorian Tree of the Year by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).

Also known as the Royal Oak, the tree was planted in 1863 to celebrate the marriage of the Prince & Princess of Wales. This stunning tree now stands at 22 metres tall with a canopy of over 35 metres, and is the oldest tree in the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens.

Simone Ambrose, CEO of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), said he is thrilled to crown the Royal Oak as the 2021 Victorian Tree of the Year.

“Our winner is adored by the Castlemaine community. It’s one of the oldest and largest known specimens of English Oak in Victoria, and voters have said they love its beautiful foliage and wide canopy. It is a popular picnic spot, and children love collecting its leaves and acorns.

“It’s been exciting to see the public get so involved in voting for the 2021 Victorian Tree of the Year.  Following the COVID-19 lockdowns, I think we all have a renewed sense of appreciation for nature,” said Mr Ambrose.

Councillor Tony Cordy, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire, said he was thrilled to receive news of the win.

“Thank you to everyone who voted for our magnificent English Oak tree. It’s a remarkable thing to have a tree in our botanical gardens recognised widely for its beauty and presence,” said Tony.

“Memories are made under the shade and foliage of our mighty English Oak and we hope that people are still celebrating it in another 160 years!”

The English Oak was the clear winner of the 2021 Victorian Tree of the Year Award, with an impressive 625 votes out of a total of 1,590 on the National Trust’s Facebook page.

The runner-up was the Moreton Bay Fig at Lake Wellington in Meerlieu, which received a total of 238 votes.

This year, nine trees from the National Trust Significant Tree Register were shortlisted for the coveted award, with six of the finalists hailing from metro Melbourne and three from regional Victoria.

“The Tree of the Year contest is a fantastic opportunity for us to slow down and appreciate the natural wonders that play such an important role in enriching the culture and community of Victoria,” said Mr Ambrose.

“We encourage Victorians to nominate their favourite tree each year. Details on how to nominate a tree for the 2022 contest can be found on our website,” he concluded.

The National Trust is the state’s leading advocate for the protection of trees, celebrating the positive impact they have on the local community. To date, the National Trust has classified more than 20,000 trees in 1400 places across the state on the National Trust Register of Significant Trees.



Top Nine Finalists

Lemon-scented Gum

Corymbia citriodora

Invermay Grove, Rosanna

This Lemon-scented gum exhibits a very unusual growth form. The species typically has a smooth trunk, but this specimen is deeply wrinkled. The cause of this growth form is not known – it may be a genetic variation, or a plant response to external stimuli during the initial growth phase. You can see why we gave it the nickname “the Shar Pei tree!”


English Oak

Quercus robur

Castlemaine Botanical Gardens

This tree is one of the largest and oldest known English Oaks in Victoria, and the oldest tree in the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens. It was planted in 1863 to celebrate the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales. A landmark within the gardens, this tree shades the BBQ and playground area and is well-loved by the community.


River Red Gum

Eucalyptus camaldulensis

Alphington Station

This River Red Gum is approximately 200-300 years old and contributes greatly to the urban Alphington station landscape. Thanks to passionate community members, this tree was saved from being removed as part of proposed carpark development in 2013 and holds significant importance for the local community. The area has undergone restoration and there is a number of younger River Red Gums around it, creating a beautiful natural setting around the station.


Moreton Bay Fig

Ficus macrophylla

Lake Wellington, Meerlieu

This Moreton Bay Fig is amongst the oldest cultivated trees in Victoria, and the second largest measured in Victoria It is a dominant feature of the landscape and a remnant of the courtyard garden surrounding "Roseneath", an 1840s homestead that sat on the hill overlooking Lake Wellington. The tree was likely planted by the Dawson family in the 1850s.


Ponderosa Pine

Pinus ponderosa

Ballarat Botanical Gardens

This Ponderosa Pine is an imposing specimen and the tallest tree in the Ballarat Botanic Gardens. It is located near the 'Statue of Summer'. The species is known for its patterned, sweet-smelling bark - on a warm day, a butterscotch or vanilla scent exudes from the cracks between the bark slabs.


Blush Tulip Oak

Argyrodendron actinophyllum

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne

A large and striking example of a species uncommonly planted in Victoria. Despite the name, this tree is not an Oak! It is native to the rainforest regions of Queensland and New South Wales, and often used as a decorative timber. This specimen is a focal point upon entering the gates of the Royal Botanic Gardens.


Port Jackson Fig

Ficus rubiginosa

RMIT / Old Melbourne Gaol

This Port Jackson Fig has a highly unusual form, straddling the bluestone walls of Old Melbourne Gaol and RMIT. It is the only known example in Melbourne of a fig growing atop a wall with aerial roots anchoring it in place. It is a stunning specimen, greatly contributing to the reflective atmosphere of the shaded Fig Tree Courtyard.


Algerian Oak

Quercus canariensis

Parliament House Gardens

The ‘Federal Oak’ was planted on 27 March 1890 by Sir Henry Parkes to commemorate the 1890 Australasian Federation Conference, held at Parliament House in Melbourne. It is situated in the Parliamentary Gardens, designed in part by William Guilfoyle, landscape architect of the Royal Botanic Gardens. It is a focal point of the formal garden.


Flooded Gum

Eucalyptus grandis

Newry Street, Carlton North

This Flooded Gum is an exceptional example of the species in an urban area, towering over a quiet intersection in the grounds of a kindergarten. It has an unusual canopy expression and branching for the species, which in a forest setting is typically single-stemmed and straight.


More Significant Trees

Search the Register

Search to find your favourite tree, or nominate a tree to the Register.

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) is the state’s leading advocate for the protection of trees, celebrating the benefits they provide to our communities. Since 1982 the National Trust has classified over 20,000 trees in the National Trust Significant Tree Register.


2020 Winner

Bacchus Marsh Avenue Of Honour

The Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour is a combination of 281 Dutch elms (Ulmus X hollandica) and Huntington elms (Ulmus X hollandica 'Vegeta'), planted in 1918 to honour local community members who served in WWI. The Avenue is of State significance and forms a remarkable entranceway to Bacchus Marsh.


2019 Winner

Bulleen Red River Gum

This River Red Gum is more than 300 years old and is likely the oldest tree remaining of the original Bulleen Red Gum forest. As of 2021, it remains under threat of removal to make way for the North East Link highway project, despite strenuous community objection.