9 July 2013 — A 30-year-old Melbourne plane tree that was poisoned and killed has been covered in bandages to mourn its loss.

Artist Louise Lavarack, invited by the City of Melbourne, has used “triage” to commemorate the life of the tree, on the corner of Elizabeth and Therry streets, transforming the skeletal remains into a ghostly roadside memorial.

The tree is shrouded from top to bottom in cotton wool and about 700 metres of gauze bandages.

Ms Lavarack said she was deeply disturbed by the sight of the vandalised tree.

“My reaction is a visceral, gut-wrenching one. How could someone do such a senseless thing? It strikes against our symbiotic relationship with the natural world.”

Her artist statement said that if the tree were alive now it would be cleaning the air we breathe, capturing carbon, providing habitat for animals and birds, reducing street noise and offering many more benefits to the urban environment.

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