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Happy Tree


Town of Cambridge

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


9 Hovea Cr City Beach

Location Details

Located on road reserve adjacent to 9 Hovea Cr, City Beach

Other Name(s)

Eucalyptus gomphocephala

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1978 to 2018

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 27 Nov 2018

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 27 Nov 2018 Category 2

Category 2

Considerable Significance Very important to the heritage of the locality. High degree of integrity/authenticity. Conservation of the place is highly desirable. Any alterations or extensions should reinforce the significance of the place.

Municipal Inventory Adopted 17 Dec 1996

Municipal Inventory Removed from MI 15 Dec 2020

Statement of Significance

The Happy Tree has a aesthetic value as a mature and well established tuart tree which has been adorned with carved

The Happy tree has aesthetic value as a landmark in the street and the community. for its contribution and continuity in the streetscape since 1978.

The Happy tree has historic value for its association with the development of the City Beach community in the 1970s when the
first characters were added to the tree.

The Happy tree has historic value for its association with Ralph and Ivy Soderlund who lived at this house from 1961 until the 2000s and for their contribution to the community in creating the tree carvings and the associated books and annual story telling event.

The Happy Tree has social value for the members of the City Beach community who have attended storytelling events at the tree since 1978 and for its contribution to the sense of place.

Physical Description

The Happy Tree is a large multi-trunked Tuart tree located on the verge outside no. 9 Hovea Crescent, City Beach.

The natural nooks in the tree have been filled with toys, supplemented by platforms and steps with other creatures and fantasy figures attached all around the tree. A commemorative plaque celebrating the Happy Tree has been erected alongside a plaque from its creator, Ralph Soderlund that says “The Happy Tree stands tall and free, a gift from God for all to see, its happiness is there to share, take some to others to show you care”.


The Happy Tree was the initiative of Ralph Soderlund and his wife Phyllis who built their home at 9 Hovea Crescent in 1961. In 1978, Walter Ralph Soderlund (c1921-2013), a retired orchardist carved and painted his first character, Mr Gnome, into this tree on the verge of their property. In every subsequent year, other characters were added to the tree. The inspiration for the tree was Ola Cohn's Fairies Tree in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne.

An annual event was held at the tree in which local children were invited to a Happy Tree Party where they would listen to stories about the characters in the tree, written by Ralph Soderlund and illustrated by his wife Phyllis Ivy Soderlund (c1923-2013). Ralph Soderlund began the tradition in 1988 and would put on a top hat for the story telling event. The tradition has continued with a carved top hat added to the tree in 2016.

In April 2000, the Town of Cambridge continued the tradition of hosting the annual community event and the new owners of the property at 9 Hovea Crescent assisted with the hosting from 2013.




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
City Beach Ovals - P26248 Town of Cambridge Heritage List and Local Heritage Survey 15 December 2020
Aerial photographs, Landgate. Online Reference 1953-2016
Post Community News, p.54 Newspaper 30 January 2016

Place Type



Epoch General Specific
Present Use FORESTRY Other
Original Use FORESTRY Other

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

17 Jul 1997

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

07 Apr 2021


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