History – The lonely lemon tree

Moloney family outside their home at Bromelton
Moloney family outside their home at Bromelton

On Sandy Creek Road just outside Beaudesert, grows a lonely Bush Lemon Tree.

The tree was planted by Mr Moloney as part of his orchard to feed his growing family in the very early 1900s.

Along with other trees planted near to the cottage the family had built, this tree was essential to their lives and their food requirements.

As with most families of this era, there were an abundance of children to feed and one can only imagine the children playfully running around the orchard and being given the task of bringing in some lemons.

Bush lemons are a hardy plant and well protected by some very large thorny spikes growing from their limbs, so picking the fruit can lead to some nasty scratches.

This little tree no doubt protesting giving up its fruit to the children, would have caused a few unwelcome injuries in the day, whilst the family lived there.

For many years the fruit of this tree would have been used by the family, or given to neighbors when they visited.

Unfortunately, as time moved on, so did the family, the old cottage succumbing to the wrath of nature and relentless termite attack, finally falling, with the remnants burned by subsequent bushfires.

The rest of the orchard dying out, or never recovering from the elements, the lonely tree proved to be the only survivor.

In 1952, Tancred’s Meatworks started production further up the road, with thousands of vehicles passing during its time, and with more traffic passing by now it’s likely many in those vehicles would have glanced across and seen the tree, but few would really know of how special she is.

With permission from the property owners, fruit was collected and seeds propagated, now the little tree now has five offspring growing not far from where she lives.

After many years surviving droughts, fires and hardship, the remarkable tree, now around 100 years old, still fruits every year, maybe in the hope that the long-gone family may return and again pick the lemons she lovingly produces. 

By the Beaudesert History Association.

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