Standing next to the swing gate is a large example of an Australian sheoak tree, (Allocasuarina sp). Like a lot of Australian imports, this tree appears to have done better in New Zealand than in Australia. Our tree is about 15 metres in height.
Sheoaks are not pine trees, even though they have what appear to be needles. They are flowering trees and what look like needles are in fact branchlets. The much reduced leaves appear as the rings around the branchlets and at the tips.
The age of the specimen in the Williams House Garden is unknown. We have no old photographs that show the tree when it was younger, other than one taken in the late 1950s that shows it well established at that time. However it is likely that it is approximately 80 years old.