Manning Park has gained 20 new trees as the City of Cockburn marked Hiroshima Day – the anniversary of the destruction of the Japanese city of Hiroshima by an atomic bomb on 6 August 1945 – with an annual tree-planting ceremony held in the name of peace.
It is the 37th time the City has held the tree-planting event, with about 50 children from 9 local schools accepting an invitation to add Corymbia and Eucalypt species to the popular Spearwood park.
The plantings will create habitat corridors and increase the tree canopy between the northern end of Manning Lake and nearby bushland, with particular benefits for native birds and other local wildlife.
This year’s tree-planting adds to the hundreds already planted at parks across the City, beginning in 1986 with the planting of Japanese cherry blossom trees near Peace Park on the corner of Adela Place and Spearwood Avenue, also known as Friendship Way, in Spearwood.
This year’s ceremony began with the symbolic release of two white doves by City of Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett and Consulate-General of Japan in Perth Mr Toru Suzuki in honour of the 140,000 lives lost as a result of the Hiroshima bombing.
The doves flew above proceedings before turning east and back into the arms of their owner, registered homing pigeon breeder Ray Johnson of Maddington, a member of the Armadale-Kelmscott Pigeon Racing Club.
Also in attendance was former Cockburn councillor and Deputy Mayor Nola Waters, who with the late Don Miguel OAM - Freeman of the City and former Cockburn Mayor - were the driving force behind the 1 July, 1986 Cockburn Council decision to begin an annual commemoration of Hiroshima Day.
Following the tree-planting, the City held a morning tea for students who heard a reading of Eleanor Coerr’s historical novel Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.
With the help of Melanie Gray from 22 Folds, students also learned how to make origami paper cranes, or Orizuru as they are called in Japanese.
Mayor Howlett said the hundreds of trees planted across the City over the past 37 years continued to flourish and were an ongoing symbol of peace.
The initiative is supported by 'Mayors for Peace, a global movement formed in 1982 by the Mayor of Hiroshima to raise awareness of a growing sentiment pushing for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
“The trees planted by children from within our City over the years are a growing representation of a desire and a wish for world peace,” Mayor Howlett said.
“The event also symbolises the strength of our friendship with Japan and its people and reflects the nature of our growing relationship as we reach out in terms of trade, education, tourism and cultural exchange.
“The trees themselves are also a fitting tribute to the ‘hibakusha’, the surviving victims of the atomic bombs which fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“The hibakusha survived the immediate effects of the devastating bombs, but suffered from the effects of radiation sickness, loss of family and friends, and discrimination."
The event was also attended by Elizabeth Po and Adrian Glamorgan from Mayors for Peace.
Trees added to the park this year include Marri (Corymbia calophylla), Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) and Red Ironbark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon).
Schools represented at the 2022 tree-planting included:
- Beeliar Primary School
- Coogee Primary school
- Hammond Park Primary School
- Jandakot Primary School
- Newton Primary School
- Southwell Primary School
- Spearwood Primary School
- Success Primary School
- Perth Waldorf School