Health Infrastructure and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District have reassured local residents the magnificent Blackbutt in Nowra Park will not be removed as part of the planned $438 million redevelopment of Shoalhaven District Hospital.
In fact, a Health Infrastructure spokesperson said the tree would become a focal point of the new hospital development.
"The master plan for the Shoalhaven Hospital redevelopment will be designed so that the Blackbutt tree (Eucalyptus pilularis) is not impacted," the spokesperson said.
"Health Infrastructure and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District are keen to ensure that the tree enhances the overall design for the new hospital and it is given the focus it deserves."
The spokesperson said both parties were aware of the local community's passion to protect this tree and have engaged an arborist to look at any potential impacts.
The historic tree, at the south eastern end of Nowra Park, is estimated to be around 400-years-old.
A number of Aboriginal bark removal sites, most likely for canoes, are evident in the giant's trunk.
The majestic tree, near the intersection of North and Junction streets in Nowra, is listed on the National Register of Big Trees.
The giant stands 38 metres or 98 feet tall and has been part of Nowra's history for as long as anyone can remember - it is synonymous with the area also known as the Recreation Ground or to "old timers" simply "The Rec".
The tree has a circumference of 7.90m (307 inches) and a crown of 45m (147 feet).
The NSW Government has committed $438 million to the redevelopment which will see the hospital expand onto the nearby Nowra Park.
"Once complete the redeveloped hospital, will provide the majority of emergency, critical care, acute, subacute and non-admitted services locally, reducing the need to transfer patients to Wollongong and Sydney," the Health Infrastructure spokesperson said.
At last week's community meeting organised by the Shoalhaven Hospital Action Group (SHAG) who are pushing for the hospital to be relocated to a new more centralised, greenfield site, ISLHD CEO Margot Mains said the local health district had heard the resident's concerns.
"We heard what residents said about the issues they've got," she said.
"We've heard about the importance of the park [Nowra Park], and we want to pay homage to that history of the park.
"We've heard about the tree and are well aware of that major tree which is very important and certainly our planning will take that into account."