Sydney Uni donates historic trees to Westmead Health Precinct

L-R WSLHD Chief Executive Graeme Loy, Westmead Clinical School Deputy Dean Professor Tania Sorrell AM, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network acting Chief Executive Professor Chris Cowell, Westmead Clinical School manager Amanda Burke, Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School manager Leigh Smith and Head Professor Louise Baur with University of Sydney Westmead Initiative Director Professor Chris Peck.

The University of Sydney has shared its historic roots in education and training with the Westmead Health Precinct through the donation of two symbolic trees.

The trees are descendants of the original Tree of Hippocrates in Greece, where legend tells us the ‘Father of Medicine’ Hippocrates taught his pupils under the tree’s branches.

Clippings from the original tree have been planted at medical schools around the world including the University’s School of Rural Health at Dubbo.

Two trees, one for Westmead Hospital and one for The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, were propagated from the University’s Tree of Hippocrates at Dubbo and donated for planting in the new Central Acute Services Building (CASB) forecourt.

The trees represent the University’s commitment to bring its 150 years of teaching expertise to the Westmead Health Precinct and collaborate with partners to shape health and wellbeing in western Sydney.

The University hosted Westmead Redevelopment partners at a tree planting ceremony on the forecourt of the CASB.

The University’s Westmead Initiative director Professor Chris Peck is proud to be a partner in this exciting project.

“The CASB is our own Tree of Hippocrates in many ways – it’s where we’ll bring together the best students, researchers, staff and clinicians to advance health and medicine and prepare the next generation of health professionals,” Chris said.

Representatives from WSLHD, Westmead Health Precinct, University of Sydney and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Western Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive Graeme Loy accepted the donated tree on behalf of Westmead Hospital.

“Many thanks to University of Sydney for this wonderful symbol of the growth we are experiencing in the Westmead Health Precinct,” Graeme said.

“The trees have connected us to medical schools around the world, which is an accurate depiction of the global connections that exist and will continue to be made into the future at Westmead.  

“I look forward to the opening of our new CASB in October – this is a hugely exciting milestone and step forward for medical and research outcomes around Australia and the world.”

Westmead Clinical School manager Amanda Burke accepted the tree with Graeme, sharing her personal connection with the trees.

“I drove to Dubbo to collect the trees and cared for them for several months,” Amanda said.

“I even took them away one weekend when it was extremely hot, because I was terrified they might die in the heat!”

Acting Chief Executive of Sydney Children’s Hospital Network Professor Chris Cowell accepted the second tree alongside Head of Children’s Hospital Westmead Clinical School Professor Louise Baur.

“I would like to thank the University of Sydney for this meaningful gift which symbolises scientific inquiry and represents an important partnership, bringing together leaders in research, education and clinical care to provide world-class health services for this generation and future generations,” Professor Cowell said.

The two donated Trees of Hippocrates will provide shade and greenery for staff, students, patients and visitors in the new CASB forecourt when the hospital building officially opens later this year.

One of 14 projects in Westmead Redevelopment’s Arts and Culture Strategy, the trees will be accompanied by an art installation to help protect them and provide interpretive signage to tell their story.

The Westmead Redevelopment project is transforming healthcare in western Sydney.

The $1 billion NSW Government project – the biggest health infrastructure project in the state – will transform the Westmead Health Precinct and deliver an innovative, integrated facility that will continue to deliver high-quality healthcare for decades to come.