ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

One of the many eggheads down at the Betoota Shire Council offices has spent the week carefully choosing the perfect type of tree to replace the perfectly fine ghost gums that line many of the streets and avenues of the French Quarter.

Town Planner Craig Choob said he’s probably going to choose London plane trees to replace all the nice gums on Rue de Branlette, Des Jardins du Putain and Voie du Nique ta Fere.

Though there’s nothing especially wrong with the established ghost gums, Craig explained that the gums don’t provide much in the way of shade and aren’t as hardy to urban pollution.

“They’re also a bit too hypoallergenic. Meaning, they don’t make people sensitive to pollen want to cry and/or throw themselves under a passing bus to escape the smothering sensation of hay fever,” said the man with the two acre forehead.

“We like the look of these London Plane trees, they’re quite popular in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. The French Quarter has always had a more cosmopolitan vibe to it, like Melbourne, so we feel that London Planes will make the area look more auspicious,”

“It’s a shame when any tree dies – but these majestic ghost gums, some now over 40m tall, will live on in our memory.”

However, local residents have banded together to try and prevent council from cutting down the gums.

Lewis Hardy, of Rue de Branlette, told our reporter that if council votes to replace the gums with London Planes, he’s going to write a will and phone the corrective services at Wacol to get his suite ready.

Our reporter joined Lewis at his apartment this morning that overlooks Jardins du Bjelke.

“Take a look at this thing,” said Lewis.

He got on all fours and put one hand under the couch. With a smile on his face, he pulled a case out and opened it.

“A few of these went missing a few years ago, do you remember?”

Our reporter nodded.

Lewis was holding one of the SR-98 designated marksman rifles that went missing during an Army exercise in the Simpson Desert a few years ago.

“First, I’m going to get the mayor. Then I’m going to get anyone who tries to touch those trees. Then I’ll come and get Clancy Overell. I’m going to get him if it’s the last thing I ever do. I’m going to shoot him right through his hat.”

Our reporter nodded again, this time much closer to the door.

“You’re not going to tell anyone, are you?”

This time, our reporter shook their head, then nodded as if to say goodbye.

“Yeah, because you’ll know what happens if you do? Right?”

Again, our reporter nodded and pointed to their hat – then mimed their head exploding as the bullet passes through it.

Lewis nodded then started wrapped the SR98 back up in its hessian rag as our reporter slipped out the door.

More to come.


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