By Emily Farmer
A Fremantle artist is transforming the wood from two fig trees into picture frames after the City of Fremantle decided to replace them.
In July, the city cut down the two sick Moreton Bay figs, which had stood in King’s Square for over a century.
The trees had been monitored by arborists for many years.
City of Fremantle spokesperson Jason Cunningham said the council didn’t make the decision to cut down the trees lightly. He said it was the result of growing concerns for public safety.
“We started noticing that the trees were looking a bit thin on top,” Cunningham said.
“After careful monitoring and treatment from tree surgeons we had to make the decision to replace them.
“If we had kept the trees the City would have had to cut them back to the point where they wouldn’t even look like figs,” he said.
Cunningham says the trees will be replaced by a London Plane tree and a mature fig tree.
Ben Goodman is from local art gallery and picture framer Bitches Brew. He said he was proud to be able to work with the council and local artists to carry on a legacy.
“We loved the trees and didn’t want them turned into wood chips,” he said.
“We’re a Freo family and business so we wanted to respect the wood and turn it into something that could be kept and treasured forever.”
Goodman said the wood will take a while to be treated, but they should start producing finished artwork and frames sometime next year.
The removal of the trees comes as part of the redevelopment of the greater King’s Square area, set to be completed by the middle of 2020.
The redevelopment is ongoing, but Cunningham says the public can expect big things in the future.
“The old Queensgate cinema building will become a new retail space and the Myer building will be home to more than 150 government workers,” he said.
“We hope that this is just the start of Fremantle’s renewal.”