Saying ‘I do’ in Greenough

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Sue Rudduck hopes love will be in the air at Geraldton and Greenough icon, the Leaning Tree.
Camera IconSue Rudduck hopes love will be in the air at Geraldton and Greenough icon, the Leaning Tree. Credit: Tamra Carr The Geraldton Guardian

Mother and daughter Susan and Patricia Rudduck are used to having hundreds of strangers a year on their Greenough property and now they hope to turn a profit from it.

The Rudduck sheep farm, on Brand Highway, is home to the iconic Leaning Tree — a rivergum estimated to be about 200 years old that has been flattened by the region’s strong winds.

In April, the Rudducks hosted a family wedding on the property and, after looking at the photographs taken next to the tree, a light bulb went off in their heads.

“The photos were just stunning,” Susan said. “The tree has a natural arch which I think would be appealing, as lots of people traditionally get married under an arch.”

The Rudducks are accepting venue requests for weddings and examining ways to transform parts of their property to suit bigger crowds.

The Leaning Tree, part of a group of leaning rivergums, was named one of RAC’s seven rare WA wonders. The Rudducks describe tourists as visiting daily by the “bus load.”

Greenough Pioneer Museum and Gardens historian Gary Martin said it was probably the most photographed tree in WA.

“I think just about everybody heading north or south of Geraldton stops to take a photo of it,” he said.

“It’s a symbol of Greenough.”

Mr Martin said while the tree lured visitors, the parking bay area and signage was “uninspiring” and could be improved. It would make sense to transform the spot into a mini tourist information area promoting Greenough’s other sites, including some of the area’s less visible leaning trees.

“Otherwise, I think it’s fine if the Rudducks make use of the tree as long as it’s kept safe and the integrity of the tree remains unharmed,” he added.

Jenny Zalmstra, who owns the former Seventh Day Adventist church in Bookara, described the tree as a “grand old lady” which would likely entice people from up and down the State to get married in Greenough.

Over time the Rudducks have faced a few incidents, including someone painting it pink and many “planking” on it. There is surveillance at the site.

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