It stood over four metres. It was photographed in the heritage village of Richmond, Tasmania and was located in the corner of the Lace Shop car park.
When my wife Delma, who is a green thumb, and I arrived home in Tweed Heads, having visited Richmond after the Australasian Religious Press Association annual conference held in Hobart, we checked our illustrated plant books.
What we discovered was that there was really nothing that 'exactly matched' the photograph.
My next step was to email the photograph to a family member whose 'chemistry' and 'professorial' credentials are beyond disrepute. She had a number of Australian illustrated plant books and like us could not exactly match it. She surmised it might even be a plant import.
The next step in the search was to ring the Lace Shop but there was no answer during the week, so I sent an Email to the Richmond Arms Hotel which was next door and the following day, rang them. They were apologetic as the person in charge was away on leave.
I waited to the weekend and again rang the Lace Shop. Yes, the very helpful lady explained that identifying the tree and flower was the most common question she was asked.
From the information she had at hand, it's Botanical name was 'Carya' and common name 'Catkin'. It was very rare, it is only found in Tasmania and can be seen more readily in the Tasmanian hills. The plant was originally an import from England.
With this information, I once again sought the wisdom from our family member who came back with this information:
Catkin-type flowers means a long tail-like structure. There are many Carya, the one in Richmond from the photograph appears to be the Carya ovata.
Is there anyone in cyberspace able to be more precise in identifying it?