Presentation Reflection Walk | Moreton Bay Figs and Presentation Oaks (Station 10)

Moreton Bay Figs and Presentation Oaks

Station 10 –

Moreton Bay Figs and Presentation Oaks

Location: Near Sacre Couer East; Western Entrance to The Avenue; Eastern Entrance off Bay View Terrace.

Audio: Read by Sister Maureen Moynihan PBVM, Presentation Sister and Past Principal of Iona Presentation College Junior School (then Iona Primary School).

Many Presentation Convents, especially in Ireland, have feature oak trees in their grounds as symbolic of their connection to the greater presentation family and the oak tree traditionally being used as a symbol of the Presentation Order. There is often too, in the Convent or school, a large depiction of an oak tree, and the acorns on all the branches containing the names of the various and many foundations and Convents around the world that have been established along with their location and year of foundation.

The Oak Tree is strong and firm and whilst it originates from a small seed, it grows and expands, which is not dissimilar to the arrival of the Presentation Sisters in Mosman Park and the opportunity for a unique, life-changing Presentation education between river and sea in Mosman Park. As we know, Oak Trees have the potential to produce thousands of acorns. Likewise, thousands of students have passed through the doors of Iona having received a Catholic, faith-filled, Christ-centred, Presentation education and wherever they are in the world today, they each form part of a 'global tree' of Presentation people.

The humbling beginnings of the Presentation Sisters has often been described as "from acorn to oak" for no reason other than small seeds (acorns) grow into large, leafy trees (oaks), the leaves of which provide shade and shelter (physically and metaphorically) and which, in time, bear fruit. When Iona first opened its doors in February 1908 as a Catholic Presentation Convent and education establishment small seeds of the Catholic faith were planted. These seeds continue to be planted and nurtured over a century with the current students still receiving a faith-filled Presentation education. This is the fruit of the sacrifice, determination, courage and faith of Venerable Nano Nagle and the founding Sisters at the College, and is evident in the calibre of students and staff that are proud to call themselves Ionians.

While oak trees were conducive to growth in Ireland and England, they did not flourish in Australian soil and were replaced many times. The oak tree that was planted near Iona Convent was given to the Sisters by Tony Evans in 1969. Sister Albeus Fahey led the planting of this tree in an unknown year on the Feast of the Holy Family. Some of the Sisters expressed their concern at the location of where it was planted, in that as it grew, it risked damaging the garages on The Avenue. In her usual witty way, Sister Albeus replied, "I don't think we will be around to worry about it."

Other trees that were on the property when it was purchased in 1907 were the Moreton Bay Fig Trees. These are also known for their solid roots and massive foliage and have stood the test of time in the Australian climate. After 114 years, some of these sturdy and gigantic trees are still standing. If the Moreton Bay Fig Tree on Bayview Terrace could talk, it would reveal many secrets as finding a nook among the massive root structures was, and still is, a favourite haunt of thousands of Iona students over the years.


Presentation Sisters North East Ireland. (n.d). From Acorn to Oak. Retrieved September 2020.