Currumbin, Gold Coast: Aussie bloke, 70, refuses to come down from tree over neighbourhood dispute

Bitter neighbourhood row erupts as an elderly homeowner climbs a tree and refuses to come down during dispute over a fence: ‘I’m up here as my last resort’

  • Man stopped 10-metre brushbox from being chopped down
  • Arborists arrived at his home in Currumbin, Gold Coast
  • Tree straddles boundary between man and his neighbour
  • Man was in the tree for an hour before police got him down 

An elderly man has refused to come down from a 10-metre tree in his front yard after loppers arrived with chainsaws to cut it down. 

Norm Duke, 70, scaled the native brushbox just moments before arborists arrived at his property in Currumbin, a coastal suburb in Queesland’s Gold Coast.

His neighbours want to cut the large tree down to build a fence around their property, however Mr Duke warns the move will have dire consequences.

He claims the removal of the brushbox, which has roots underneath the property, would destabilise the very steep slope his home is perched upon. 

‘It’s removal will destabilise the very steep slope that’s here,’ he told 9News

‘We’re not objecting to the fence, at least the partial fence, we’re just disagreeing with cutting down the tree.’ 

Norm Duke, 70, (pictured) scaled the native brushbox just moments before arborists arrived at his property in Currumbin, a coastal suburb on the Gold Coast in Queensland, to cut it down

Norm Duke, 70, (pictured) scaled the native brushbox just moments before arborists arrived at his property in Currumbin, a coastal suburb on the Gold Coast in Queensland, to cut it down

Mr Duke, a botanical researcher, said he scaled the tall brush box as a ‘last resort’. 

He refused to leave his perch until the loppers left and was involved in tense negotiations with police after an officer climbed onto his roof. 

After an hour had passed, Mr Duke agreed to come down from the tree – much to the relief of paramedics and fire crews below. 

‘They were just about to cut it and were trying to do it. We were trying to get in legal help but that was going to be slow to arrive,’ he said.

The local council and police will continue discussions over the fate of the tree. 

Mr Duke refused to disclose whether he would scale the tree if loppers returned. 

Mr Duke, a botanical researcher, said he scaled the 10-metre brush box as a 'last resort'

Mr Duke, a botanical researcher, said he scaled the 10-metre brush box as a ‘last resort’

The large brush box straddles the boundary between his home and the neighbours and has roots underpinning the footing of his cliffside property.

The large brush box straddles the boundary between his home and the neighbours and has roots underpinning the footing of his cliffside property.

‘I’m not going to say,’ he told reporters at the scene. 

‘Who knows what you do when your desperate, or you care about something’. 

A Twitter user, who had been taught by Mr Duke at the University of Queensland, left a message of support for the researcher. 

‘Go Norm! I remember you from your UQ lecturing days. If anyone knows about coastal plant ecology, it’s you!’ they tweeted. 

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