Tree Removal at Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA)

Members of the community may have noticed that a number of trees were recently removed from KAVHA, primarily around Government House. Several of the trees had significant fungal decay, including the largest one which has been removed opposite No.10 Quality Row. 

I was incredibly impressed with the care and professionalism of the contracted team in removing a number of trees at risk of impacting public safety and various heritage structures at KAVHA. These trees were removed on the advice of the KAVHA Advisory Committee, acting on the recommendations of the Government House Landscape and Garden Report. This report is available at The trees were removed after obtaining a permit from the Norfolk Island Regional Council, as required by the Trees Act 1997.

Trees are an important part of KAVHA’s landscape. In the Advisory Committee communique published in the Norfolk Islander in September 2017, I acknowledged the need to selectively remove a number of trees which had been identified in the Government House Landscape and Garden Report. These trees were at risk of damaging heritage assets, blocking vistas and had no known historical associations. The community was also encouraged to notify the Heritage Manager if they knew of other trees that may be damaging assets or impeding the heritage and cultural values of the KAVHA landscape. A small number of additional trees were subsequently identified by KAVHA staff.

As Chair of the KAVHA Advisory Committee, I further advised the community of the intention to remove these trees in February 2019, and noted that some regeneration work will be carried out at a priority area identified within Kingston to offset the removal of these trees.

The draft KAVHA Cultural Landscape Management Plan (CLMP) also considered the management of vegetation at KAVHA, finding that some trees are obscuring important historical views, contributing to erosion or causing damage to historic walls. Following the positive community feedback received during the CLMP consultations held on island earlier this month, the Department will also be looking to remove a number of trees (approximately fourteen) from the Polynesian Marae site at Emily Bay to help protect the underlying archaeology and to help future site interpretation.

The removal of trees from the Polynesian Marae site was also identified as a priority by the KAVHA Advisory Committee. The planned tree removal will be confined to the Polynesian site. There are no plans to remove all trees from the Emily Bay area.

The draft CLMP proposes other trees within the Kingston area that should be considered for removal or thinning. Further consideration will be given to the removal or ongoing management of these trees following the finalisation of the CLMP. The Department will follow all required processes to obtain approval for removal of these tress.

If you would like to find out more, please contact my office on +6723 22152 or at

Eric Hutchinson
KAVHA Advisory Committee