Part of the central path to the fountain installed in 1889.  The Canary Island palms are the tallest I have seen.

Part of the central path to the fountain installed in 1889. The Canary Island palms are the tallest I have seen.

Some of these veteran Canary Island palms have a bend, which I think is rather nice.

Some of these veteran Canary Island palms have a bend, which I think is rather nice.

Magnificent veteran Fig with incredible aerial roots.    Two thirds of this tree is not in the photo.

Magnificent veteran Fig with incredible aerial roots. Two thirds of this tree is not in the photo.

After decades of driving past & wishing I could stop & go inside Redfern Park, today I finally did & boy, it was well worth it.

A bit of history – prior to 1885 the land that became Redfern Park was deemed “a dangerous ‘pestiferous bog’ known as Boxley’s Lagoon.” In 1885 Redfern Council (now the City of Sydney Council) gazetted the 12-acres to form Redfern Park. It was designed as a “Victorian pleasure ground” & thankfully, retains much of this feel today.

In 2014 Redfern Park was awarded the ‘Green Flag Award’ for recreation & relaxation & recognised as one of the top parks in the world. I was not surprised when I read this, feeling that my absolute pleasure at this park was justified.  More of the park’s interesting history can be found here – http://bit.ly/1fcFLvk

The park is surrounded by truly magnificent Fig trees. Many have incredible aerial roots that hang down to within a 1.2 metres from the ground, while others have a canopy spread of around 20-metres.

There are also Cabbage & Canary Island palms at the impressive sandstone entrance gates & also in lines throughout the park. There is a massive & perfectly shaped London Plane tree showing how regal this species can look when it doesn’t need to be pruned for powerlines. There is also a gorgeous River Red Gum that makes me think of Central Australia. With today’s blue skies it was easy to imagine this. Much to my delight there is also a Bottle tree.

This list of the registered significant trees in Redfern Park came from the City of Sydney website – see http://bit.ly/1mrY8I9 I must say it is wonderful to be able to find out details of the trees planted, their history & significance.

There are a whopping 86 protected significant trees in Redfern Park making it a jewel less than 2-kms from Sydney CBD.

  • 21 Deciduous Fig trees (Ficus superba var. henneana)
  • 4 Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla)
  • 8 Port Jackson Figs (Ficus rubiginosa)
  • 3 Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla)
  • 1 Queensland Lacebark (Brachychiton discolour)
  • 1 London Plane (Platanus x acerifolia)
  • 1 River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)
  • 1 Maiden’s Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)
  • 31 Canary Island Date Palms (Phoenix canariensis)
  • Indian Bean (Catalpa speciosa)
  • 10 Washington Palms (Washingtonia robusta)
  • 2 Date Palms (Phoenix dactylifera)
  • 2 Jelly Palms (Butia capitata)

Part of the park includes Redfern Oval – home of the South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby League Club.   There is succession planting of both Fig trees & Canary Island Palms surrounding this oval. The roof of the stands of the oval is covered in solar panels – another good thing to see.

Showing the historic gates & a gorgeous street beyond.  Look at that canopy & so many verge gardens.  I bet it is a great street to live.

Showing the historic gates & a gorgeous residential street beyond. Look at that canopy & lush verge gardens. I bet it is a great street to live in.

The oval has multiple large gates that when closed form a fence.  However, they were open to allow the public access to the oval. People were all through this park & oval & it was obvious that is a popular place to spend some time. There were dogs both on leads & leash-free. People were picnicking in the centre of the oval while others walked or ran. To me it was great to see this area opened for use of the public.

There was one barbeque facility & people were cooking while we were there.

Inside the park is a gorgeous ornate fountain that was installed in 1889 & refurbished in 1991.  The fountain area is a delightful & peaceful place to sit & watch the water & passersby. The fountain also provides an important water source for the many birds that call this park & local area home. Water in a public park was very pleasing to see. I wish other parks also provided fresh water for birds.

There is also a well-maintained & attractive war memorial that was erected in 1919 to commemorate 137 local men who lost their lives in the First World War 1914-1919.

The children’s playground was simple, but lovely. Rather than all the entertainment coming from the playground, children were running around the park & exploring.

Close-up of the water sculpture called “Lotus Line’ designed by Aboriginal artist & academic Fiona Foley.   It's utterly gorgeous in my opinion.

Close-up of the water sculpture called “Lotus Line’ designed by Fiona Foley. It’s utterly gorgeous in my opinion.

A marvelous feature in this park is a water sculpture called “Lotus Line’ designed by Aboriginal artist & academic Fiona Foley. Multiple lotuses stand tall & around these shoots spouts of water. It is a waterplay park with a difference & still spouting water in winter.  Kids were playing ‘karate chop’ with the waterspouts & able to do this without getting wet. I imagine it is a different scene on hot summer’s days.

Ms Foley also designed large seedpods & other sculptures for the children’s playground. Kids can enter or climb these art works. They were very beautiful to my eye & rather than detract from the surrounding landscape, added another almost secret dimension.  Her artwork in Redfern Park is very nature-orientated, which I think is a good thing as it engages children’s consciousness & hopefully makes them more respectful of the environment.

One other thing that I found impressive & smart on Sydney City Council’s behalf was that all the garden beds were planted with the one plant. I think it is called Philodendron ‘xanadu,’ though I may be wrong.  The wide garden beds around the periphery of the park & under the trees were thick with this lush plant & they served to block out much of the sight of the busy passing traffic.

Mono-planting if done well, as it is in this case, can look terrific. There were no empty garden beds or areas that looked dead or only covered with mulch. The garden beds also served to provide a safe habitat for any ground dwelling wildlife.  Also, most trees in the park were surrounded by a generous ring of mulch, so no chance of injury from a whipper-snipper or lawn mower & also very good for the continuing health of the tree.

Another view of the veteran Canary Island Palms.

Another view of the Canary Island Palms, this time from the south side of the park.

What I found astounding was the lack of litter in this park. There were no cigarette butts, drink cans, bottle tops & other litter, even under the trees & in the gardens.  I saw one bottle & a couple of tissues in our two-hour stay & the park was full of people.   A colony of Australian White Ibis lives in the park & not a sigle one of them has leg injuries from discarded string or the like.

What makes one section of the community treat their park well, while another a short drive away thinks nothing of leaving everything they don’t want behind? I don’t think I will ever understand this.

There was no graffiti, but there was chalk drawings on the pavement done by children.   One of the messages said, “Don’t worry about a thing. Be happy.”

There was no evidence of any kind of vandalism either.   All the newly planted trees were left untouched. No tree trunk was spray-painted. Neither were the historic sandstone entrance gates, bench seats, bins or other structures. The fountain looked new, not 126-years-old.  Respect for the environment is obvious in this park.

Redfern Park is special.  I highly recommend a walk on a sunny day to take in the delightful sights of so many magnificent trees & the other wonderful aspects of this marvelous park. Don’t wait decades like I did before you take a step back into history when parks were elegant places for promenading & people watching. Casual clothing is accepted these days, but probably not in the 1880s.  I would give Redfern Park ten stars for beauty, ambience, amenity, art, sport, community & peace.

An incredibly lovely Victorian fountain that not only looks beautiful & sounds peaceful, but is also a fresh water source for local birds & other wildlife.

An incredibly lovely Victorian fountain that not only looks beautiful & sounds peaceful, but is also a fresh water source for local birds & other wildlife.  Seatung surrounded the fountain.

One of the magnificent trees in Redfern Park.

One of the magnificent trees in Redfern Park.  Everywhere one looks there is beauty.

Phenomenal Red River gum in the background with one of the artworks by Fiona Foley.   This one could be climbed or entered.

Phenomenal Red River gum in the background with one of the artworks by Fiona Foley. This one could be climbed or entered.  

Sublime Fig tree in Redfern Park.  Note the landscaping

Sublime Fig tree in Redfern Park. Note the landscaping that protects the trees, adds beauty & habitat, but also separates the park from the street beyond.

Looking twards the centre of the park from under a massive canopy of a veteran Fig tree.

Looking twards the centre of the park from under a massive canopy of a veteran Fig tree.

The 'Lotus Lines' water scupture was enjoyed by myself, a meditating man, some children & these dogs.

The ‘Lotus Lines’ water scupture was enjoyed by myself, a meditating man, some children wo are just visible inside & these dogs.

 

Look at the size of this rain garden & it is only one of two on this corner.

Look at the size of this rain garden & it is only one of two on this corner.

After completing community consultation that started in July 2014, Marrickville Council has started building a rather impressive rain garden in Scouller Street Marrickville. Actually, they are four rain gardens – two on each corner of Scouller Street at the intersection of Juliett Street with the footpath traveling between them.

The road has been narrowed on both corners allowing more land to be claimed for the rain gardens & for what appears to be landscaping. Only two parking spaces were lost to create so much gain.

This street is part of the Eastern Channel East Subcatchment that carries stormwater all the way to the Cooks River. Quite incredible really as this is the top end of Marrickville; almost Enmore.

The rain gardens will clean & filter the stormwater, as well as improving habitat. Narrowing the road for the rain gardens will also help slow traffic.

Scouller Street is one of those lucky streets that have old brick footpaths. Not only are these attractive in my opinion, I assume that they are also permeable to a degree. Council has retained the flow of the brick footpath between the rain gardens, which is great.

Even now it is easy to see how these rain gardens will increase the beauty & amenity of this corner & have a positive impact for local biodiversity. Work has a way to go yet, so I will write an update once it is finished. Well done Marrickville Council. I think this is going to be fantastic.

Showing one & a bit of another rain garden. The brick path continues through the middle.

Showing one & a bit of another rain garden. The brick path continues through the middle.  

Narrowing the road has allowed for significant sized rain gardens to be built.  This intersection is going to look wonderful as well as serve a very useful purpose.

Narrowing the road has allowed for significant sized rain gardens to be built. This intersection is going to look wonderful as well as serve a very useful purpose.

The Poplars at Steel Park provide wonderful dappled shade for people to play under and; of course, that lovely sound made by their leaves.

The Poplars at Steel Park provide wonderful dappled shade for people to play under and; of course, that lovely sound made by their leaves.

Marrickville Council has released the findings of their community consultation conducted in October/November 2014 regarding the Parks along the Cooks River, excluding Tempe Reserve. These are Mahoney Reserve, Steel Park, the Cooks River Foreshore (the area between Steel & Mackey Parks), Mackey Park & Kendrick Park.

This post is about the feedback on Steel Park.  Participants came from a range of suburbs with 28 people from Marrickville & the rest from Earlwood, Rozelle, Moorebank, Petersham. Ashfield, Dulwich Hill, Leichhardt, Canterbury, Summer Hill, Kingsgrove, Bexley North, Tempe, St Peters, Stanmore, Canada Bay, Balmain, Lewisham & Maroubra.

31 people said they drove to Steel Park, 25 walked & 10 rode their bicycle.  Most of the participants came to the park once or more per week.

“If you could have anything in the world in Steel Park, what would it be?”   Responses ranged from –

  • Café.
  • More picnic shelters & barbeques.
  • Fence the park off from the river to stop children running & falling into the river.
  • Fence the Waterplay area.
  • Fence the river.
  • More play & waterplay equipment.
  • More trees, more shade.
  • More seats.
  • Amphitheatre & outdoor cinema.
  • Tree house.
  • Man-made beach.

Others wanted “making it easier to find lost keys in the mulch, parents & kids yoga & no Ibis in the park.

I fear for the Ibis & believe they should be allowed to live in our environment. These birds only came to the city because their own habitat was severely degraded by drought & then fire. The river is a natural place for them to live.

Many people do not know that Ibis are an Australian native bird, instead thinking that they come from Egypt.  Being with wildlife in a park is something that I think is positive & a very good thing for children to experience.

I am not a fan of signs, but a sign explaining that Ibis are a protected species & are an Australian native should help.  Also the amount of left-over food that is dumped post picnic in the gardens is an invitation to Ibis to come & feast.  They have a love of human food, so with much food left in the park, what can people expect?

The positive comments about Steel Park ranged from multiple uses, many cultures, feeling at ease, friendly, tranquil, natural shade from trees, kid friendly, “prettiest park around” & even the “snow” from the Poplar trees.

Things people disliked ranged from a lack of fencing on the river, a lack of parking, speeding cyclists, “dirty Ibis,” not dog friendly, busy due to limited barbeque facilities, litter & “disgusting toilets.”

Last summer Marrickville Council placed speed humps for bicycles along the shared pathway & as far as I can see, this has helped slow the cyclists.   If you speed over these humps you would very likely damage your bike wheels. It is a very good intervention in my opinion & I cycle. The humps still allow the children to ride on the path & add a good level of safety.

Steel Park is my favourite park on Marrickville’s section of the river mainly because of the trees & the area around the saltwater wetland.  Changing this into something that supports the environment rather than being a car park as it was once was a stroke of brilliance on Council’s behalf.  Not only is it great habitat for wildlife, but it is also a safe area for kids to explore.

I adore the dappled shade of the Poplar trees & know of no other park in Marrickville LGA that has the same outlook. People can sit on a patch of grass anywhere & be assured of shade, which is important for many months of the year. The seasonal changes of the Poplar trees is also something quite lovely & I enjoy that kids run & jump in the fallen leaves.

If people would not leave behind their unwanted food behind, string & balloons or litter the place, then Steel Park would be much nicer.  I like that there are areas where one can sit by the river without being near the playground.  Also, the shared path is terrific. I personally would prefer that the river not be fenced off.  If a fence has to be included, perhaps it can be in the form of a hedge between the playground & the shared path. To be able to access the river is one of the big pluses of this park.

Litter at Steel Park Marrickville.

Litter at Steel Park Marrickville. No wonder the Ibis come to inspect.

 

 

Marrickville Council has commenced work on Kays Avenue East laneway Dulwich Hill

Marrickville Council has commenced work on Kays Avenue East laneway Dulwich Hill.  I very much like the curve path.  It is a shame that Railcorp does not plant trees in the large empty patch of land next to this.

I went to have a look at the work Marrickville Council are doing at Kays Avenue East laneway in Dulwich Hill. The lane travels between Kays Avenue East to Albermarle Street along the railway line.

Council is making this into a ‘living lane’ & putting in rain gardens to reduce flooding that occurs here regularly. The rain gardens will filter the stormwater before it travels to the Cooks River.

I noticed a drain nearby had a painted stencil informing that stormwater in this location went to the Cooks River. I’d like to see these on every drain. The more of these around, the more people will get to understand that stormwater can travel kilometres before reaching the river.

The pathway design through the lane is curved, which softens the feel of the area. There is space either side of the path where Council is intending to landscape & plant new trees.

There will be a community planting day when the work is completed. If you want to participate, send an email to water@marrickville.nsw.gov.au

There will also be new parking spaces in Kays Avenue & a new cycleway linking Albermarle Street with School Parade.

I have always appreciated the planting outside the fence line of the adjoining property in the Kays Avenue East laneway, which I presume was done by a resident. Their work added beauty & now Marrickville Council’s work would be significantly adding to this.

So far the laneway works looks terrific. Once completed, I think it will be a bonus to people & wildlife.  I will post an update when the works are completed.

Looks like the beginning of a rain garden.

Looks like the beginning of a rain garden.

Lots of pipes to be installed.  Flooding much be significant

Lots of pipes to be installed. Flooding much be significant

Thankfully for both the tree & the community, this will one day be a thing of the past.  As they repave footpaths Marrickville Council is leaving more room for street trees to grow & collect rainwater.

Thankfully for both the tree & the community, this will one day be a thing of the past. As they gradually repave footpaths Marrickville Council is leaving more room for street trees to grow & collect rainwater.

A report on trees by the City of Melbourne Council says, leafy streets boost sale prices by up to 30 per cent.” This is not at all surprising to me. http://bit.ly/1GIMGmr

This week more than 50 local councils will meet to learn how to grow & maintain an urban forest. The workshops aim is to increase the tree canopy to prevent increased temperatures due to the urban heat island effect & also to increase the physical/mental wellbeing of the community. Trees are very good for people.

Yesterday, the City of Melbourne with the Victorian government, released the Urban Forest Creation Guide to help local councils successfully increase & retain their urban forest. The Guide is an Australian first. I hope it is released to the public, as I imagine many would like to learn from this guide. http://ab.co/1KdBjY9

One sign left.  At least they will educate for the time they remain.

The sign next to the vandalised trees.

Marrickville Council planted four new trees in the lovely Morton Park in Lewisham only to have someone come along & vandalise two of the trees.  That’s a minimum of $2,000 of rate-payers money down the drain.

With our urban forest being only 16.3% canopy cover, we desperately need more trees.  Marrickville Council cannot increase our urban forest & beautify our municipality if people continue to kill public trees.

The vandalised trees were planted beside the children’s playground & the barbecue.  They would have provided shade & beauty for park users, as well as more habitat for wildlife.

I think it is great that Council put up a sign beside the trees rather than ignore the incident. For the time they remain, they will educate people.

I hope the two other new trees remain untouched.

The two vandalised trees would have provided shade & beauty for the playground & barbecue.  This is a senseless act.

Showing the two vandalised trees.  They would have provided shade & beauty for the playground & barbecue. This is a senseless act.

Eight tall mature trees dying.  This is an incredible loss.  It was such a beautiful place & admired by many.

Eight tall mature trees dying. This is an incredible loss. It was such a beautiful place & admired by many.

The top of one canopy. Very sad.

The top of one canopy. Very sad.

Eight mature Blackbutt trees have been poisoned in the garden of an apartment block on Homer Street Earlwood.

The apartment block has wonderful views, as it overlooks the Cooks River, Marrickville Golf Course & all the way to Sydney CBD. The trees are well-known to everyone who looks across the Cooks River from Marrickville & Dulwich Hill.

The strata believes the trees were accidentally poisoned when land regeneration works were undertaken in April.   A hired “bush regeneration specialist” used strong chemicals to kill weeds and unintentionally infected the gums, the spokeswoman said.”

I am wondering if the strata will take legal action against the “bush regeneration specialist,” alleging negligence & seeking compensation for the losses the property has now suffered.

Canterbury Council is investigating & taking tissue samples “to determine the cause of poisoning.”

“A council spokesman said the gums would not be cut down unless they started to pose a danger.”  Let’s hope they turn these into habitat trees (see – http://bit.ly/1bTy5LW ) & also plant eight new gum trees very soon that will take the place of these trees when they finally do have to come down.

See – http://bit.ly/1BDQqsM

Another view of the property.

Another view of the property.

The Bush Regeneratuon Specialist appears to have missed a good opportunity to remove the asparagus fern from the property.

The “bush regeneratuon specialist” appears to have missed a good opportunity to remove the asparagus fern from the property.

One of two park benches installed at Mackey Park allowing people to rest & enjoy the Cooks River.

One of two park benches installed at Mackey Park allowing people to rest & enjoy the Cooks River.

I am really happy to report that Marrickville Council has installed two park benches along the shared pathway at Mackey Park. The benches face towards the river allowing people to watch the view.

These benches will assist older people & people who have limited capacity to get out & enjoy the river at this location, without being near crowds or a children’s playground. It is a great move to bringing equality of use in this park.

I know of a number of older people who used to go to Mackey Park a couple of times a week at least. They would meet others of a similar age at a picnic table setting & enjoy the sunshine & the company of others. When the table was removed they stopped going & this little community group fell apart. It has been more than ten-years now & this particular group of people has grown older & some have died.

Those with whom I spoke did not want to sit in the children’s playground & they believed that there should be more options for seating. It is my hope these benches encourage people go to the park knowing they do not have to walk too far & that there is a seat with a beautiful view waiting for them. Thank you Marrickville Council. It’s a small thing, but one that will assist many.

Squirrel Gilder street art - photo by  Doris Billingsley with thanks :-)

Squirrel Gilder street art – photo by Doris Billingsley with thanks :-)

This large brick wall in Benella north-eastern Victoria has the most wonderful image of a Squirrel gilder painted on it. This is my kind of street art.

I think street art is a great opportunity to add beauty, as well as  passively educate about the value of wildlife & nature. There is room for all kinds of street art & I wish that a percentage celebrated the biodiversity of Marrickville LGA.

New Queensland Brushbox trees along the Princes Highway Tempe - looking good.

New Queensland Brushbox trees along the Princes Highway Tempe – looking good.  The yellow dot indicates another new tree.

More Queensland Brushbox trees on the Princes Highway Tempe

More Queensland Brushbox trees on the Princes Highway Tempe

There is a massive culture change happening along the Princes Highway in Tempe. Marrickville Council has recently planted half a dozen good-sized Queensland Brushbox street trees along the western side of the highway.

They already look good, but imagine how good they will look once they have reached maturity.   All the trees planted have unimpeded space above in which to grow.   There are very few street trees along Marrickville Counci’s stretch of the Princes Highway.

All my life the Princes Highway from near Sydney Park to the Cooks River has looked bare & dare I say, ugly.  Marrickville Council has a long-term plan to line the highway with Brushbox trees & these changes will be of great benefit to the streetscape & to the community.  I am very happy to see the start of this project.

Gannon Street Tempe, which exits onto the Princes Highway has also benefited from recent street tree planting.  Council planted three or four street trees in 2014 & has filled the empty spaces on the southern side of the street this year.

Gannon Street really needed more street trees in my opinion.  As a ‘gateway’ street into the municipality, a nice streetscape is really important.  The pollution-lowering benefits street trees provide will also be of immense benefit to the people that live here because this is a high traffic road right next to the highway.

A new street tree was planted in Station Street Tempe right next to the Princes Highway.

A new street tree was planted in Station Street Tempe right next to the Princes Highway.

Newly planted street trees in Gannon Street Tempeclose to the Princes Highway.

Newly planted street trees in Gannon Street Tempe close to the corner of the Princes Highway.

Hopefully this newly planted Lily Pily in Gannon Street Tempe will grow to look as good as the mature one in the background.

Hopefully this newly planted Lilly Pilly in Gannon Street Tempe will grow to look as good as the mature one in the background.

 

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