Charlie Chandler's Tree - East Perth FC
A recent tree planting was carried out at Leederville Oval as a symbolic replacement gesture of the South African Cape Chestnut tree that stood just inside the Pier Street gate at Perth Oval prior to the re-development of our previous home ground.
The tree at Perth Oval was known as Charlie Chandler'sTree and it was said to be the infamous barometer of East Perth's chances of winning a grand final.
The story has been told on many occasions but to complete the story here it is once more.
The tree was named after C.J. (Charlie) Chandler who was a legend at East Perth in the postwar years. Charlie was a member of the 2/16th Battalion in World War 2 and his regimental number of WX3500 suggests that he was one of our early AIF recruits.
After the war Charlie became a rabid supporter of the Royals and he was known to have a liking for the amber fluid and he would arrive at the games with a few charges under his belt - Everyone would know when Charlie arrived at the ground - his war cry was given in the loudest voice for all to hear - "Fight on East Perth - Fight on Digger."
The legend was that the tree would always bloom before East Perth won a grand final.
Charlie had pointed out the phenomenon of how the tree had bloomed three times in the late 50's when East Perth won premierships. In 1961 our league team was at unbackable
Odds to win the flag. The following verse appeared in the programme for our annual ball held in early '61 at the Embassy Ballroom.
About Bloomin' Time
‘Neath the spreading Premiers tree Charlie Chandler stands,
Plucking strange exotic blooms with strong and sinewy hands,
"Bloom on, digger, bloom again, " Charlie Chandler pleads,
And the faithful tree to such earnest plea graciously concedes,
For Charlie's tree is our tree too, it's bloomed whene'er we've won,
In'56 and twice more since and now in 61.
This was wishful thinking on the part of someone. Charlies Chandler'sTree remained bare and East Perth the red-hot favourites were beaten in the '61 grand final by Swan Districtst.
In early early October '96 the tree burst into magnificent bloom. "It was the best I've ever seen ", said General Manager Marbles Wilson.
Unfortunately it was - Too Bloomin' Late - a few weeks earlier the Royals had lost that classic grand final to Claremont by 2 points, and perhaps Charlie Chandler was looking down from up above and these magnificent blooms was his way of saying "All is not Lost - Fight on East Perth".
The myth was shattered in 2000 the tree did not bloom and we won our first premiership in over 20 years - again the tree failed to bloom in 2001 and 2002 and we won our three- in-a- row premierships
The club appreciates the help we have received from John Hyde MLA. Mayor Nick Catania and the Town of Vincent in arranging for the planting of the new tree. Let us hope it brings us luck in the future.