The tree was a Melbourne landmark and is best known as the site where the citizens of the city congregated on 15 November 1850 to celebrate when the news that Victoria was to separate from the colony of New South Wales after it had been announced by Governor La Trobe. It is one of the few trees left in the garden that pre-dates European colonization. The tree was approximately 24 metres (79 ft) in height with a canopy that was around 27 m (89 ft) wide. The trunk had a circumference of 3.83 m (13 ft) at its girth. A plaque commemorating the centenary the separation of the colonies was placed at the base of the tree in 1951.
In 2010 and again in 2013 the 400 year old tree was damaged in acts of vandalism. In the 2010 attack the tree was ringbarked and about 90 per cent of the cambial tissue removed. The wound was further widened and the remaining 10 per cent was destroyed in the 2013 attack.
The tree canopy and parts of the trunk were lopped in 2015 after it was confirmed to be dead. By July 2015 only the main trunk and parts of three scaffold limbs remained. There are 26 separate plantings of saplings of the original tree scattered around Victoria including one in the botanic gardens in Melbourne and another in the garden at Parliament House.
- Carolyn Webb (13 February 2015). "Canopy of dead Separation Tree in Botanic Gardens to be lopped". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
- "Eucalyptus camaldulensis Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Council Victoria. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
- "Saying goodbye to the Separation Tree". Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
- Jeff Sparrow (7 January 2015). "Well done, humans. We've killed Melbourne's Separation Tree". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- "Separation Tree". OnlyMelbourne. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
- "Separation Tree". Monument Australia. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
- "Victoria's Separation Tree lives on". GardenDrum. 5 July 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
- "Pride of place for Separation tree sapling". Parliament of Victoria. 19 June 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2017.