3 December 1999

Two wonderful sights will remind 82-year-old Feilding Chippendale of the passage of time when he comes back to the University of Queensland on December 3 - his grandson graduating as a doctor and hundreds of trees.

Just as Mr Chippendale has watched his grandson grow, the tiny saplings he and his two-man team put in the ground back in 1939 are now the soaring pines and Australian natives adorning the University Lake, Pine Knoll (near Women's College) and the Brisbane River frontage of the St Lucia campus.

His grandson John will graduate at 5pm with his mother Barbara, grandfather and grandmother Muriel in the audience.

The massive planting was the first assignment for Mr Chippendale, who had graduated with his Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University's George Street campus in 1938, and started working as a horticulturalist with the then Bureau of Industry.

"The University consisted of a construction site in a big paddock in those days. There were some established trees near Emmanuel College and maybe one or two near the now Chemistry Building but that was it," Mr Chippendale said.

"We had a scythe, two spades and a wheelbarrow and we obtained most of the trees from the Brisbane City Council or private collections. Bureau chief was Colin Clark, who went on to become a famous economist and Professor at the University. There is now a building named after him at the St Lucia campus. On the campus, I was under the direction of a then Professor of Botany Des Herbert who guided the lay-out of trees."

Mr Chippendale's work at the University ended abruptly with the outbreak of World War II when he joined the Army. While in the Army, he graduated with a Master of Agricultural Science from the University and headed a malaria control unit in places such as Papua New Guinea and Borneo.

He said the plantings had been a great challenge and he would be interested to see how his trees had managed the passage of years. "We watered the trees by bucket from a tank on the back of a truck and regularly cleared large tracts of shoulder-high grasses and weeds to make way for the trees. Hand-clearing groundsel bush near the now ferry terminal proved particularly difficult with us often slipping into the mud around the mangroves," Mr Chippendale said.

He said he and wife Muriel now enjoyed their lifestyle in a unit at Burleigh Heads and were pleased their grandson would be closer when he started work at the Gold Coast General Hospital next year.

For more information, contact Feilding Chippendale (telephone 07 5576 5179) or Barbara Chippendale (mobile 0411 032 154).