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‘Touch that tree and I’ll kneecap you’: 94-year-old rejoins fight to save iconic red gum

A 94-year-old has re-joined the fight to save one of Melbourne’s most iconic red gums, half a century after he started the fight with gun.

The 300-year-old gum (pictured) at the busy Manningham Road-Bridge Street intersection in Bulleen is set to make way for the North-West Link.

That decision has prompted outcry, with the National Trust joining Manningham council in calls to save the tree.

Lower Templestowe resident and WWII veteran Nevin Phillips has joined the chorus, more than 50 years after he first stopped the tree from being lopped in dramatic fashion.

“I grabbed my Brno rifle out of the car, ran over and said ‘Touch that tree and I’ll kneecap you’,” Nevin Phillips casually reminisced with Ross and John this morning.

“A few minutes later the police arrived on their bikes.”

Click PLAY to hear Nevin’s amazing full story

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