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The finale to Leura's April Fools' Day 2000
On March 29th 2000, the Blue Mountains Gazette published an article, "Leura Cherry Trees to Go". The public read that the signature cherry trees lining the centre divider of The Mall would be up for the chop and replaced with native wattles. Volunteers' assistance was requested.
All hell broke loose. Irate citizens deluged phone lines at the Blue Mountains City Council office. The local MP's office was flooded with calls and even the Gazette's phone rang off the hook. Alan Leek, the prankster President of the Leura Village Association, was vilified publicly and privately in the heated days that followed.
As is customary these days, some came in the wee hours prepared to chain themselves to the innocent trees. The sun rose and the trees stood their ground. It was but a practical joke, a hoax and Leek the instigator paid for it bravely in the stocks that Fool's Day. We've seen photos to prove he took his punishment like a man! But "Letters to the Editor" kept rolling in for weeks! Complaints, vilification until local Paul Watkins of Blackheath wrote, "Well, you got me Alan, well done"! And to the complaining voices, he wrote, "For crying out loud you lot, lighten up and get a life".
Mercurial spring day in Leura
Rain, blustery wind, sunshine -- from chilly to beautifully warm, Leura offered it all last Wednesday (6Oct). The Mall was in full blaze -- a stage of deep pink as the famous cherry trees officially opened the week of Leura Garden Festival and this weekend's Leura Village Fair.
We were invited into several gardens and they were stunning. 10,000 tulips in bloom, young flowering weeping willows and the sweet perfume of hyacinth and tiny white narcissus. Streetscapes of dogwood, plum and cherry trees, all in bloom. We were reminded of a hilarious prank from 2000, when the then-President of the Leura Village Association ran an article in the Blue Mountains Gazette. This was an April Fool's Day type prank that most residents will remember for years. The article read "Leura Cherry Trees to Go". Ask your friends if they remember. Next week, we'll finish the tale and the villification that followed. Let us know if you are able to track down the story.
We ended our day with dinner at Hana Japanese Restaurant at the top of the Mall and Great Western Highway. The place was packed with families -- these are school holidays. As always the food was fresh and filling and the staff very helpful. (The prices will please you, too.)
Surprisingly, only a light jumper was needed on this beautiful calm evening.