Guyra’s Blue Tree
You may have noticed a blue tree that appeared on the southern side of Guyra in
November 2019. The story behind the tree begins when Gary and Lynne Heagney took a ride on their motorcycle to Margaret River in Western Australia.
While riding around over there, Lynne noticed a few dead trees painted blue. Gary had also seen some of the blue trees while travelling around delivering furniture and knew they were something to do with mental health but did not know the story behind them. They did some research and after discovering the story decided they wanted to do something in their home town.
When Gary and Lynne arrived back in Guyra, Lynne said ‘we need a blue tree in Guyra and I know which tree it is’.
The tree was situated on land owned by Terry and Tracey Williams. When asked they said ‘go for it’, so a couple of weeks later the paint was purchased and with the help of their son Gary Jr, over the weekend the tree was painted. Thanks to Terry and Tracey for letting us do this. A couple of R.U.O.K. signs were added and all was completed.
The story behind the Blue Tree Project
In February 2014, Jayden Whyte painted a dead true blue in the middle of a paddock on his family’s farm at Mukinbudin, about 400km north east of Perth. When his father Grant stumbled across the tree, it was another humorous moment for their family. Tragically, in November 2018 Jayden took his own life. The special story of the blue tree was shared at Jayden’s funeral.
On Christmas Eve Jayden’s best mate Simon and his cousin Jared painted a 15 metre dead tree on Simon’s father's farm at Mukinbudin in honour of Jayden. In the scorching heat, it took two men about two days to turn the old tree into a symbol of hope, love, strength and friendship.
After posting a photo of the tree on facebook, it went viral, which has prompted the Blue Tree Project to help raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. The initiative has since gained traction and there are now 524 blue trees across the state, country and even overseas.
In a facebook post, Simon wrote; “It is a tribute to my best mate and hopefully the start of something very special”. The project is being coordinated by Simon and his sister Anthea and Jayden’s sisters Kendall and Erryn.
The Blue Tree Project aligns with #YouCanTalk campaign which has been promoted across various mental health organisations such as Beyond Blue, R.U.O.K. and the Black Dog Institute.