Kalianna School Bendigo tree cut down, boy and carer cut free still in hospital

The tree from which a branch fell onto two people at Kalianna School Bendigo, leaving them seriously injured, has been removed.  

A student, 10, and a 61-year-old carer remained in hospital on Monday, three days after they were rescued from under the fallen tree limb at the North Bendigo specialist school. 

The boy underwent surgery yesterday at the Royal Children’s Hospital to repair a broken leg. He was leaving school when the branch fell on top of him.   

A female carer on her way to pick up another student was also hurt in the incident and was airflifted to the Alfred hopsital late on Friday night with back injuries. She is in a stable condition.

Principal Peter Bush said on Monday he was “shattered” by the incident, while staff and students also left shocked were receiving counselling.

Mr Bush said the tree was removed over the weekend so students would not be reminded of the incident.  

But there was “no indication” the tree in question was damaged when it was last checked by arborists in May 2016. 

Mr Bush said the experts periodically checked trees on Kalianna schoolgrounds, with some removed as recently as the last school holidays. 

An education department spokesman said an arborist would this week check remaining trees.

“Community safety must come first when it comes to trees management at school sites,” he said. 

“The department and the school continue to provide support for the family of the injured student and carer, and members of the school community impacted by the incident.”

Although architects of new facilities at the school were already questioning whether trees should be removed, Mr Bush stood by the designs, saying Friday’s branch drop was a freak accident. 

“We just have to make sure they’re (the trees are) checked regularly,” he said.

Friday was a day of ups and downs for the Kalianna community. Minutes before the tree branch fell, Mr Bush and colleagues departed for Melbourne to celebrate its nine nominations in the Principal Association for Specialist Schools’ Victoria awards

The school won four of the awards, including principal of the year, primary teacher of the year and leading teacher of the year.

A group of 10 staff also took home an award for best student engagement. 

“It confirms to me our vision and where school is heading is in the right direction,” Mr Bush said.

“It’s confirmation we’ve got brilliant staff and, with the new build happening, there’s exciting times going to the future.”