WISHING TREE: Melissa Wright in front of the wishing tree which has inspired the town and visitors to share their wishes.
WISHING TREE: Melissa Wright in front of the wishing tree which has inspired the town and visitors to share their wishes. Marc Stapelberg

Making a wish has branches in Lennox

A WISHING tree in the main street of Lennox Head is inspiring the local community this summer to connect with their inner child.

A tradition in ancient cultures across the world, wishing trees have been used over time to conjure wishes and for worship.

Melissa Wright from Lennox Artspace first encountered a wishing tree many years ago while strolling with her baby through a Los Angeles neighbourhood.

She started the Lennox tree with the help of her childrens' art class, but the tree has since been adopted by the entire community.

"Everybody buzzes about it... everybody stops. It's a real talking piece in Lennox and I think it's a real inspiration for the community and visitors. It adds a little bit of art but also a little bit of worldliness," Ms Wright said.

Ms Wright is now decorating the tree with at least 100 wishes every day.

Beth Heldt, whose book shop Lennox Bookmark looks out on the tree, said she had also been putting wishes out for people coming into her store.

"I put 150 out yesterday morning and then another 100 out yesterday afternoon," Ms Heldt said.

"Everyone just loves it, and it's actually just elevated the whole festive season beyond just what people want for themselves - many of the wishes are quite global."

"It might be that every- one gets a present at Christmas, or everyone has something to eat, or as simple as everyone gets a smile," she said.

Ms Heldt said she had received wishes from people of all ages from two to 80.

She read some touching personal wishes such as "I hope Mum and Dad talk to each other at Christmas", and "I hope Auntie gets better", and the more self-serving "I hope I win Powerball".

According to Ms Wright, once the festive season is finished the community's wishes will either be collaged or ceremonially burnt "so the wishes can go up to heaven".

"It's a nice time because we have so many people around... hopefully they will take it back to their community," Ms Wright said.



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