The Fairy Tree

The plaque beneath the tree says: “I have carved in a tree in the Fitzroy Gardens for you, and the fairies, but mostly for the fairies and those who believe in them, for they will understand how necessary it is to have a fairy sanctuary – a place that is sacred and safe as a home should be to all living creatures.” She wanted her tree to be “a place of peace; a place that will make everyone happy, however sad and weary they may be at heart”.

Let me take you today for a walk in the Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne to see this red gum stump. This tree is known as the ”Fairies Tree” , carved by modernist sculptor Ola Cohn. She did this unpaid art piece over three years, from 1931 to 1934, which was also the same time that she started writing her books about trees and fairies.

“The Fairies Tree” is the first children’s book written by Ola Cohn. It tells the story of hundreds of years ago when the Fairy Queen was born and at the same time when the seed of a Red Gum tree sprung into life. The Big Tree became the Fairies home. How a fierce Bunyip guarded the Tree and the Fairies were forced to leave and live elsewhere for hundreds of years. Banished from their home, the Fairies searched for a new home in the Old Mountain. How Stoutheart using his Magic Wand, condemned the Bunyip to the Cave-of-No-Escape. The Fairies came back to live in their Big Tree but found it had died. Also Bees had made a most magnificent palace, with walls of honey gold. The book tells about the Big Tree and Fairies adventures. Many animals and fairies Ola carved on the tree appear in the story, eg. Fairy Queen, Old Frog, Wise Magician, Old Owl, Stoutheart riding his Bullfrog, Kangaroo, Wombat, Dingo, Eagle, Old Sorcerer Spider, Emu and Reading Mother.

Some close up images of the carvings on the Fairy Tree to show how much details were put into this public art.


  1. restlessjo says:

    What an amzing tree, Teresa.

    1. Teresa says:

      Thanks Jo and an amazing story that goes with it.

  2. nesfelicio says:

    Amazing story and artwork, and that it is preserved on a living canvas.

    1. Teresa says:

      I know …and to be appreciated by children as well as adults!

  3. This is so creative. It is a WOW!

    1. Teresa says:

      Thanks, glad you liked it.

  4. Such a stunning carving the Fairy Tree photography amazing 🌷👌🙏
    Have a nice weekend 🙂

    1. Teresa says:

      Have a good weekend as well ❤️

      1. Same to you too 🌷🙏❤️

  5. Alison says:

    That’s such a beautiful tree and story Teresa

    1. Teresa says:

      Thanks Ali!

  6. Thanks for showing us the details of this fairy tree! Wonderful.

    1. Teresa says:

      It’s always in the details, Rebecca. 👍🏼

  7. picpholio says:

    This is soo beautiful and I hope it brings people together in peace.

    1. Teresa says:

      Hope it does ❤️

  8. Toonsarah says:

    That’s really clever work but somehow I can’t warm to it. Maybe it’s the subject matter (I’m sure children love it!) or maybe it’s the way the carvings have been coloured? I think I’d prefer natural wood. Still, very interesting to see it – thank you!

    1. Teresa says:

      Maybe because it is for the kids to appreciate and for the kid in “some” of us. Haha

  9. That is wonderful.

    1. Teresa says:

      Thanks so much!

  10. Cee Neuner says:

    There is a whole village including wildlife in that tree. I love it 😀

    1. Teresa says:

      So very true…every animal in Australia is featured, I thinks!

  11. I remember visiting that tree when I was 7 on a trip to Melbourne with my Mum and sister! We also saw Cooks Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens and I got chased by a black swan at the zoo. Lovely photos, thanks for sparking those memories 😀

    1. Teresa says:

      You would have loved it then at that age.

      1. Not so much the swan, but memories like the faerie tree made that Melbourne trip pretty special and memorable 😀

  12. Amy says:

    How creative. Amazing! Thank your for taking us there, Teresa!

    1. Teresa says:

      It is very Australian … the animals included in there.

  13. Marsha says:

    Your pictures came out so vividly, Teresa. I especially love this post because I’ve been there.

    1. Teresa says:

      Yes I know, I remember your post, that is why I didn’t post mine straight away after yours. I am giving our friends a breather. I also have the Tudor Village coming up, but maybe next time.

      Have a good day Marsha ❤️

      1. Marsha says:

        I’m glad, LOL your pictures were so much brighter.

        1. Teresa says:

          Hmmmm I don’t think so.

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