A large tree thought to be almost 200 years old has fallen at historic Goulburn property, Riversdale, just missing the house.
Volunteer coordinator, Marie Kennedy, said she was working in the National Trust property's office when the approximate 25 to 30-metre high Aleppo pine fell mid-morning on Thursday, February 8.
Another volunteer was working in the garden but fortunately away from where the tree landed. It missed the house by "inches" and crashed over part of the driveway.
Mrs Kennedy said the tree, situated on the front garden's western edge, had grown with a bend in it which leaned towards the early 1840s property.
"It's been like that for at least 15 years. We've had an arborist look at it from time to time and they've said it was safe," she said.
"We think all the wet weather may have dislodged the roots...It's sad to see it come down but if it had to fall, it was in a good spot and no one was injured."
Mrs Kennedy said rot was evident in the roots and other parts of the tree.
Longtime Riversdale garden consultant, Ros Loftus, said the pine was an attractive feature in the extensive grounds.
"It looked like a giant bonsai. It was wonderful and was the most attractive thing. It's such a shock to see it gone," she said.
Ms Loftus speculated that the tree was planted by John Fulljames, who owned and lived at Riversdale in the 1860s and 1870s. He also planted a large orchard and was believed to have named the property.
Ms Loftus said Aleppo pines were commonly seen in other Goulburn orchards such as Kentgrove and Teneriffe.
The pines are native to the Mediterranean. However they were regularly planted in Australia as windbreaks.
In about 2009, the National Trust cut down two other pine trees at Riversdale after another one fell. Two oak trees opposite the house were also cleared years ago after they died. One of two Chinese elms outside the front gate, believed to be planted as part of the original 1829 township, died due to the wet weather.
Ms Loftus said the National Trust regularly checked trees' health and over the years had removed several tall species due to public safety risk.
Now, the Aleppo pine "neatly frames" the property's western aspect. Custodians are awaiting a quote to remove it but hope the timber can be used in some way at Riversdale.
Tree specialist, Lloyd Ashton said several large native trees in the area, particularly gum trees, were "having trouble" in the wet weather."
In some areas around Goulburn, ground moisture was several metres deep.
"We haven't seen an upsurge (in trees) falling but there are a few about," he said.
"The pine trees at Riversdale are so old and generally pines don't live for than 100 years. They're not like native trees than can live for 600 to 700 years."
Meantime, Mrs Kennedy said volunteers were being kept busy with weeds that had sprung up from the wet weather.
Ms Loftus also noted that "the bunnies were back" after not being seen since pre-Covid times.
Riversdale is open to the public from 10am to 2pm on the first Sunday of the month. It is located at 2 Twynam Drive, North Goulburn.