The flower of the Ivory Curl tree

The flower of the Ivory Curl tree

1.    A resident of historic Middle Park in Melbourne is fighting energy company CitiPower in a bid to save his 120+ year-old Palm tree (Phoenix canariensis) growing in his front garden.  The tree is to be removed to comply with bushfire regulations.  Middle Park is a residential suburb situated on Port Phillip Bay.  The resident has applied to Heritage Victoria for assistance to save his tree.  The energy company argues that the tree is too close to power lines.  “The legislation has changed. Previously you could allow for regrowth but now you can’t.”   Why cannot aerial bundled cabling be used?

2.   Stonnington Council & Melbourne Water are taking Melbourne’s Simonds Homes family, who own Australia’s fourth largest home-building company, to the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal  for allegedly breaching a planning permit, which includes the removal of 7 trees & a failure to properly landscape the river’s edge.  The house is located on the Yarra River at Toorak.   ”The bank of the Yarra River has been mechanically scraped & removed of all vegetation leaving bare earth, which resulted in sediment runoff into the river,” the council order states.”

3.    27 Cedar trees planted in 1907 along the northern edge of Adelaide Oval lost their fight to survive the Development Assessment Commission, despite that they were ‘protected’ trees.  Adelaide City Council voted to keep the cedars at a Council Meeting in July 2012 & fought a long battle with the community to save these historic trees.  To see the trees –

The following are tree vandalism cases reported in the news across Australia this year.  What I found interesting was the proactive manner in which the relevant Councils dealt with the issue.

1.    Several Spotted gum saplings were vandalized in Olives Reserve, Como in Perth.  The City of South Perth will replace the trees & “install a 4-metre tall metal tree on the site with a warning sign explaining the penalties for destroying Council property. The sign will remain until the replacement trees are established.”   Interestingly it only costs this Council around $300 per tree to be planted compared with $1,000 for Marrickville Council.

2.   The City of Greater Geelong municipality is under attack from tree vandals killing some trees older than 200-years thought to be for sea views.  The Surf Coast Shire released images of a man wearing a beanie as a disguise who was drilling holes in a large Southern Blue gum tree in Lorne.  I bet his family could recognize him because the images are very clear.  The Council says they will fine up to $160,000 any vandal they catch as well as charge them for the removal & replacement of damaged trees.  Here is a nice video of the vandal – a man – drilling the trunk of the Southern Blue gum –

3.   A Kauri pine tree thought to be planted by the Duke of Windsor in 1901 was graffitied in Homestead Park, Forest Lake in Queensland.  The park commemorates war veterans, so the police are investigating.

4.   Two Acacia trees were vandalised in Riverpark, Ashfield in Perth. The Swan River Trust responded with a sign alerting people to the vandalism.  “The Riverpark belongs to the whole community & it is unacceptable for selfish individuals to illegally cut back trees & other vegetation to enhance views, create paths or any other purpose.”   The Swan River Trust has 7 other vandalism signs erected across Perth.

5.   Vandals removed 5 new gum tree saplings in Molong Road Gymea Bay that were planted by Sutherland Shire Council. The residents had waited 25-years to have street trees planted & their street upgraded.  The residents will eventually be winners, as the vandalised trees will be replaced by 20 new trees as part of the Councils 4 to 1 tree replacement policy.

6.   A 20-year-old River red gum has been vandalized in Lapthorne Street Glenelg East in Adelaide.  The protected tree had a 2.6-metre circumference & was valued at $26,000+.  Holdfast Bay Council is considering installing CCTV cameras after a spate of tree vandalism in August 2012.  They have also installed ‘Wanted’ signs near dead poisoned trees in 4 other sites across their municipality.  49 trees were vandalized in 2012 “at a cost of almost $3500.”

7.   A Fig tree at the intersection of Mollison & Boundary Streets West End in Brisbane thought to be between 100-150 years old was poisoned by a vandal/s.  Brisbane City Council has put a ‘Shame’ sign on the tree informing the community that the tree was poisoned & asking for information.

8.   A large Plane tree worth $41,786 that stands on Elizabeth Street outside the proposed site for Melbourne CBD’s ‘tallest residential tower’ had half of its canopy illegally lopped & is also suspected of being poisoned.  Melbourne City Council is testing to see whether the tree has been poisoned.  “The established plane tree was blocking advertising signs for the apartment project on Elizabeth Street that will rise 72 storeys.”  Police are investigating.

9.   Ending on a good note, 5 residents will receive a share of $6,640 as a reward for evidence they gave about tree vandalism at the Moorabbin Magistrates Court on what was Melbourne’s Bayside City Council’s first  native street tree vandalism prosecution.  The Court “imposed a fine & legal & restitution costs totalling $20,817 for the act of vandalism that occurred on 26 December 2010 in Martin Street Brighton.”

I forgot to add really local vandalism.  In January this year 8 young trees were pulled out & used as kindling to set fire to a picnic table & bench in Ewen Park on the Cooks River.  In response, Canterbury Council & community group Friends of Ewen Park planted 8 new eucalyptus trees.  On 15th February, 3 of the newly planted trees were uprooted & burnt with dry kindling under a bench in the Ewen Park picnic area.

Gum tree flower

Gum tree flower