Firewheel street tree vandalised - very upsetting to the community who lobbied hard to have the trees planted in the first place.

Last September Marrickville Council planted 8 Water gums & 4 Firewheel trees in Gladstone Street Newtown in response to lobbying by local residents who were desperate to green the area.  See –

The residents did something highly unusual by setting up the Gladstone & Phillip Street Pride Group to clean up these streets, remove tagging, plant verge gardens & do whatever they can to make this section of Newtown look nice.  They even got the active support of local business.

What is happening here is really admirable in my opinion, so when I received an email saying 2 of the Firewheel trees had been snapped in half & then another the next day saying a Golden robinia had also met the same fate I felt a mixture of irritation & sadness for the residents who are working so hard to improve the area for everyone’s benefit.

Maybe someone unconnected to the neighbourhood vandalised the trees.  Perhaps it was a local resident who does not want street trees, even though 2 of the trees are in a section that is non-residential.  Will we ever know why people destroy trees or gardens in public spaces?   It’s a question I get asked often enough & one I haven’t been able to really answer.

I did a Google search to see if there is anything that gives a hint as to why people vandalise public trees.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find an academic article, but the ideas from community forums were quite interesting & give food for thought.  I list them in point form –

  • a need for power
  • releasing anger
  • control
  • boredom
  • a vendetta
  • revenge
  • inner anger
  • impulsive behavior
  • practical joking
  • to show off
  • cowards
  • acting tough
  • mischief making
  • loser adults
  • a lack of respect
  • envy & jealousy
  • immature
  • ignorant
  • selfish
  • stupid
  • drunk
  • unhappy with their own lives
  • emotionally stunted
  • to say, “I am here. I exist!”
  • problem with authority
  • to cheapen the area,
  • to get an adrenaline rush
  • an urge for change
  • to get the girl (!!!)
  • have nothing of value of their own
  • never taught to respect other people’s property
  • have no respect for anything
  • no sense of responsibility
  • a way to hurt your competitors
  • don’t think of the consequences
  • amused at the thought of their victims reactions
  • not caring about their fellow man
  • wanting to destroy anything in their path
  • they think it makes them cool
  • their friends dared them to do it
  • the need to make their mark wherever & whenever
  • feel everyone owes them something
  • the illusion of ownership. “What I can damage, I own.”
  • to cost the community or an individual lots of money
  • anything that’s defenseless can be vandalised
  • same reason dogs pee on trees.

So there you go.  I hope Marrickville Council help the Phillip & Gladstone Street Pride Group by planting replacement trees as soon as possible.  This community group are watering the street trees so there will be no need for Council to wait until tree planting season.

And to the residents, keep at it & don’t let such destructive behaviour stop you all from creating the environment that you want.  Hopefully speaking openly about it with everyone who will listen will get the word around that destroying the community’s hard work is not cool.  A few signs may also help.

Here is a 1-minute video taken 12 months ago that will help you see why the residents are trying to green up the area –

The second street tree vandalised in Gladstone Street Newtown

This is one of the new verge gardens created by the Phillip & Gladstone Street Pride Group. Before they worked on it, it was weeds, litter & hard dirt. They have planted the Jacaranda tree & other plants & laid down woodchip to deter the weeds. I think it looks great & is a vast improvement on what was here before.