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Marrickville Council has posted their intention to remove 8 trees from around the Dibble Avenue Waterhole Marrickville because they are non-native & regarded as environmental weed tree species.  They are:

  • Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora) x 2
  • Willow (Salix babylonica) x 2
  • Chinese Tallow Tree (Sapium sebiferum)  x 1
  • African Olive (Olea europea)  x 1
  • Mulberry (Morus nigra) x 2

Council’s tree removal notification says: The Dibble Avenue Waterhole  Vegetation Management Plan recommends the removal of these environmental weed tree species to facilitate the establishment of native vegetation & the control of weeds within the waterhole. All existing native trees are to be retained. A planting program including appropriate native tree species will proceed in June 2010 following the tree removal.  Tree works will be undertaken after 1 June 2010.

I presume the deadline for submissions is 1st June 2010, though there is no mention of submissions from the community.

The following is brief information about these tree species.

CHINESE TALLOW TREE – Native to southern China, deciduous tree. height of 8m. Orange, red, purple & yellow autumn foliage. Clusters of greenish yellow & white flower spikes November/December.  It is used as a major honey plant for bee-keepers. The fruit ripens in autumn. Birds love the fruit & disperse the seeds. Regarded as good street tree or small tree for the home garden. Costs up to $700 for an advanced 200 litre tree 2.5m tall.

WILLOW – originally native to northern China. Medium to large deciduous tree up to 20-25 mt. It has a short lifespan & flowers in spring.  In my research, I could not find mention of birds dispersing seeds.

Camphor laurel on the boundary

CAMPHOR LAUREL – large evergreen tree up to 20–30 mts. Produces masses of small white flowers which develop into black berry-like fruit around 1 cm diameter. The seeds are attractive food to birds who disperse them. Introduced to Australia in 1822 as an ornamental tree & now regarded as a weed in QLD & northern NSW. Noted for growing hollows early in its life whereas natives can take hundreds of years to develop hollows.  It has a large root system that can disrupt foundations, drains & sewerage systems.

MULBERRY – small deciduous tree to 10-13 mtrs, native to southwestern Asia. It produces edible dark purple, almost black, fruit 2–3 cms long often made into jams & deserts. Good food for birds who disperse the seeds. Both trees are near units so presumably would have been planted as a food source.

The gate at Dibble Street Waterhole. The old sign speaks volumes.

AFRICAN OLIVE – Small evergreen tree 2-15m. Produces edible black fruit pickled as olives.  Grown as a crop in Australia.  The birds eat & disperse the seeds. Planted near the units so presumably would have been planted as a food source.

Despite living in the area for nearly 15 years, we have never been to the Dibble Avenue Waterhole.  I had been told it was a gorgeous place & should go for a picnic.  This has always been the plan so with some excitement I went to visit yesterday armed with my map courtesy of Marrickville Council.  photo-dibble-water-hole The map showed a lot of trees & I hoped I would be able to spot the ones to be removed as I walked around.  The map, past conversations about the place & my own imagination made what I actually saw when I arrived quite a shock.

Dibble Avenue Waterhole

Far from being a place of beauty, The Dibble Avenue Waterhole is a sad, forlorn place.  Much of the vegetation is dead including the Willow tree.  I walked through a small boggy park with a few old style play equipment to be faced with a tall fence topped with barbed wire.  No entry for the public here.  Just inside the fence is a pier that appears to be rotten. Stacked on that was a mass of dead vegetation.  Beyond was the waterhole itself.

It was a still pool covered with what appeared to be blue-green algae. I would think that storm water travels to the waterhole & if I am correct, it demonstrates how animal poo, fertilizer & other pollutants can affect water as the algae is at epidemic proportions. I doubt the water has much oxygen in it.  A few ducks paddled their way through the algae.

Looking through the fence, past the pier to the actual pond.

The banks are steep & it looks as though the area has been sprayed with weed killer as almost everything is dead.  Houses & 3 storey unit blocks surround the waterhole.

It has the potential to be a slice of heaven in the Inner West as it is also next to the golf course & the Cooks River. If it were fixed, surrounding property values would soar.  Never mind the mosquitos here. A bird sanctuary & water on your doorstep!

I had to find the trees from my vantage place in the park.  I could see 1 dead Willow, but the other was out of view. The Olive & the 2 Mulberry trees were very close to the unit block & appeared small. The Chinese Tallow was in amongst a group of trees & I couldn’t isolate it. I could see only 1 of the Camphor laurel trees & that one was located right next to the back fence of a house next to the park.  That tree’s canopy cascades over their house, so they may be pleased to get sunlight once it is removed. Then again, judging by the massive tree they have in another section of their back garden, they may not be happy to see the tree removed at all.

Plaque from NSW State Government saying the waterhole is on the Historic Trail

My opinion is that Marrickville Council is doing a good thing to replant  this waterhole as it is in dire need of help.  It has the potential to be fantastic & it offers sanctuary for wild birds, frogs & other insects & animals. Planting natives will ensure they have abundant food, homes & places to roost. It is also on the NSW Historical Trail so we have responsibility to keep it in the best condition possible.  I will watch the progress of the Dibble Avenue Waterhole with interest.

View of dead Willow & the 2 Mulberry trees & 1 Olive


The University of Tasmania have just completed a 3 year nation-wide study as to why some people prefer a leafy front garden while others don’t. Interestingly, tertiary educated people preferred trees & the higher the  income, the more trees.

An unusual story of public tree removal in Newport:  The Cumberland Courier reported that an unspecified number of trees & scrub has been removed from Barenjoey Road by Pittwater Council. Residents requested the trees be removed saying the trees were not native & removing them would open up the area to ocean views from North Newport.

Pittwater Council’s Natural Environment Reference Group has submitted a plan to have all new DAs required to maintain wildlife corridors across their land. This would also include retaining dead trees, as these are especially important for providing homes for a variety of wildlife.  The new plan specifically targets the protection of Green-&-Gold Bell Frogs, Swift Parrots, Squirrel Gliders, Southern Brown Bandicoots & (would you believe they are even there) Koalas.  Any DA will also be required to plant more trees & wildlife sustaining landscaping.

Mid April 2010 North Sydney Council decided to explore the idea of replanting garden beds in parks & reserves with vegetables.

North Sydney Council stopped mowing verges early 2009, but after complaints from residents, they will now do a one-off mow at the cost of $58,000. They also intend to reinstate verge mowing by the end of 2010.

Just as an aside, I was told Marrickville Council spends about $2 million per year mowing our verges.  Makes me wonder what that that money could be used for if we just mowed our own & our neighbours if they didn’t have a mower.  $2 million could repair the Coptic Church in Sydenham for history’s sake & for community use or it could buy a lot of street & park trees amongst many other things. I saw a sign in Catherine Street Leichhardt yesterday that read something like – ‘2.3 million dollar footpath upgrade.’ Or we could just grow veggie or flower gardens on our verges.

Energy Australia has angered the community once again by ‘butchering’ 2 large trees in Allambie Heights shopping centre.

An 18 metre high Port Jackson Fig tree with a canopy spreading about 15 metres listed on the Significant Tree Register of City of Sydney Council was removed last month due to extensive rot.  It was part of a row of Figs in Joynton Aveneue Zetland.  The lost tree will be replaced by a mature Port Jackson Fig.

City of Sydney Council has joined with Marrickville Council in formally opposing the M5 extension that will go through Tempe Reserve, over Tempe Wetlands & terminate at Euston Road at Sydney Park. Terrific news.

It will be interesting to learn how the trial at removing smog in the M5 during March went.

A home up for sale in the Brisbane suburb of Mackenzie incurred $20,000 damage after the front garden was excavated & 10 Palm trees stripped down by unknown workers who fled when people came to watch.  It is thought they were working on the wrong property.

Finishing the ongoing story about the trees in the carpark of Walmart in Henderson Tennessee that were savagely pruned recently, Walmart have been ordered to replace 100 of the Elm trees. This will cost them around US$25,000.

row of trees along a footpath in Birchgrove

3 new street trees are up for removal by Marrickville Council, this time in Station Street Petersham.  One tree is a Eucalyptus scoparia (Wallangarra White Gum) outside number 45.  Marrickville Council’s notification says: Tree is dead. It will be replaced with Melaleuca linariifolia (Flaxleaf Paperbark),  a native with perfumed, white flowers in early summer & creamy white papery bark.

A second tree is a Eucalyptus sideroxlon (Ironbark) is outside number 67B Station Street Petersham.  Marrickville Councils notification says: “Tree is in decline with significant amounts of dieback in the canopy.  Exceeded its Safe Useful Life. Council intends to replace it with Gordonia axillaris (Fried Egg Plant).  This tree has dappled, orange/brown bark & large white flowers (10cm or 4″ across) with prominent golden stamens.  It flowers from autumn to spring & has glossy, dark green leaves with red tips in winter.

There are no details for the tree outside number 59 Station Street because of an error with the pdf.  I have notified Council about this.  I will post about this tree once I have the details & post photos of the trees after I have visited them.

The deadline for submissions is 12th April 2010.

Damaged street tree in Station Street Petersham

Last week I saw a street tree in dreadful condition on the corner of Station & Brighton Streets.  I would bet it is one of the above.  It had a large chunk of bark stripped from its trunk & had other deep gashes from repeated hits perhaps from close parking by a truck.

In past weeks I have written about Richard Pennicuik & his tree sit-in to save a street tree outside his home in Thornlie Perth.  Last week he came down after spending 110 days & nights in the street tree.  At 2 am on March 29th 2010 Cameron Johnson & another man climbed the street tree outside Mr Pennicuik’s house vowing to remain & continue the protest to save this street tree.   All 3 men dispute Gosnell Council’s assessment that the tree is dangerous.

Personally, I don’t know understand how City of Gosnells Council can continue to say this tree is dangerous after it managed to remain undamaged & standing after last week’s extraordinarily ‘once in every 50 years’ severe storm, but perhaps it’s a matter of principle in their minds.  The City of Gosnells Council’s insistence that the tree be chopped down says a lot about how much influence they allow the community who disagree with their ideas on how to manage the area.

Surely Gosnells Council has other alternatives than simply chopping the tree down? Why can’t a couple of truly independent Arborists come & assess the tree?  Perhaps they have but I have not seen reported news about this.  At least with people sitting in the tree, it is less likely that someone will vandalize the tree to ensure it needs to be removed.

Richard Pennicuik’s action has attracted a massive amount of threatening, aggressive comments from anonymous public on news web-sites.  I fail to understand why one man’s commitment to a tree results in such hatred & vilification from people who don’t know him, the tree or the history of this tree.  His action was non-violent & this itself is deserves applaud.

It would have been a different story if he had sat in the tree armed with bazookas threatening to kill anyone who came near the tree.  He didn’t.  All he did was sit in the tree for 110 days & nights.  The fact that others who came to visit behaved in a way that distressed the neighbourhood was not Mr Pennicuik’s fault.

I admire the passion & commitment of Richard Pennicuik & the new people who have taken up the fight to save this tree.  I doubt there would be many people who would do this, even if they were totally against the removal of a tree.  Mr Pennicuik says he is seriously thinking of standing for the next council elections.

Eucalypt outside 11 Union St Dulwich Hill - Council says tree is seriously sick with many other problems

1.        3 street trees are up for removal in Marrickville LGA.  One of them is a Eucalypt outside 11 Union Street Dulwich Hill that SoT & the community campaigned to save back in June 2009 & The other trees are in Hamden Avenue Marrickville & Railway Crescent Petersham.  I will go have a look at them & post something when I know more.

2. Save Hoskins Park was established by Dulwich Hill residents who are vehemently opposed to a DA which plans to demolish two 1920s Federation houses & build 11 modern

View of the DA site from the high end of Hoskins Park - the residents are also concerned about 2 mature park trees located close to the boundary

3 storey town houses with underground parking.  9 of the townhouses will face Hoskins Park. The community is opposing this DA for a variety of reasons.  They are also very concerned the townhouses will loom over Hoskins Park.  This is a reasonable fear because the bulk of Hoskins Park is located at the bottom of a natural valley.

SoT is concerned about this DA for 2 reasons.  Many mature trees will be removed (hopefully Council will insist that a mature Palm on the site is relocated).  The proposed development does not appear to leave any room for replacement tree planting as it seems to want to occupy all the land with the buildings & rely on the park for green space.  The DA is expected to be before Council sometime in April.

Save Hoskins Park has an active petition that I am told is heading towards 1,000 signatures.  The group can be contacted via their Face Book page –

3.        Volunteers are needed to help local community environment regeneration group Marrickville Bush Pockets for the following dates:

  • Friday 26 March 5.30-7.30pm – barbeque afterwards
  • Saturday 10 April – 9am – 12 pm
  • Sunday 23 May – 9am – 12pm
  • Saturday 19 June – 9am – 12 pm

See to see a recent project.  Contact details are available on the Community WHAT’S

One of the 2 houses in Piggot St which are to be demolished for the DA next to Hoskins Park. It’s gorgeous from the outside. This would not be allowed in Haberfield as they are protecting their heritage.

ON page of this site.

4.             The Wentworth Courier reported that Presbyterian Aged Care NSW plans a major development at the Scottish Hospital in Paddington.  They plan to retain the heritage-listed trees as well as restore the 1848 house & the terraced gardens.  This is good development as it preserves the history & the landscaping.

5.        The Cumberland Courier reported of a dead/dying/nearly dead 45 metre Gum street tree in Lindfield & how a resident’s 6 phone calls to Ku-ring-gai Council asking for the tree to be removed were unsuccessful, until she went public in the North Shore Times newspaper.

6.         Not local, but good reading anyway from the Marshfield Mail which concerns the question & answer session during a Marshfield Council meeting (St Louis USA) where the Mayor, who was totally against the city watering newly planted trees, accidentally sided with the yes vote.

7.        Back to local Council news – the Inner West Courier updated the drama unfolding regarding Strathfield Councillor Lim & alleged breaches of conduct as well as making 17,217 photocopies (not a typo) between October 2009 to January 2010 –

8.        The Inner West Courier reported that many hundreds of fish were found dead in Hawthorne Canal on the boarder of Leichhardt & Haberfield.

Last week I discovered that 1 large street tree (Revolution Green – Melaleuca bracteata) outside 23 Ivanhoe Street Marrickville South is to be removed. 2 others of the same species along the same stretch of Ivanhoe Street are to be removed near to the corner of Warren Road.

Marrickville Council's tree notice

I posted last Friday about this saying that Council has nailed notices on the trees. I wish they would stop doing this.  It sends a clear message the decision has been pre-determined. Council did not put a notification on their web-site.  After my previous post, the notifications appeared on the web-site.

I have sincere reservations about Marrickville Council’s capacity to stick to it own procedures & would not be surprised if other trees have been removed without proper notification to the community.  This is not a small oversight.

Council’s notice on the tree said the community had a period of 2 weeks to send in submissions.  Previously it has been 3 weeks.  Why the change?  Why weren’t we notified of this change?  Why the rush?  These trees are definitely not dangerous.

I visited the trees on Ivanhoe Street & thought that, although the trees could do with a prune to remove some dead undergrowth (normal with this species) & apart from damage to 1 branch from a passing truck, there is nothing wrong with them.  Why do they have to remove 3 mature trees that flower prolifically in Spring & attract many birds?

The notices on the trees have in the meantime been ripped out, bar one. Therefore, I inspected 4 trees in the vicinity.  The trees have lifted up the paving & adjacent gutter because many years ago they were planted in a small hole in the cement.

Ivanhoe Street showing the trees to be removed on the right & the new plantings on the left

Marrickville Council’s web-site says reason for removal is “as part of a civil works upgrade.” This means there is nothing wrong with the health of the trees. They just want nice neat footpaths.

What is really interesting about this is that over the past fortnight, Council have replaced the footpath on the opposite side of Ivanhoe Street & planted 4 more Bottle Bush trees.  I had intended to post one of my complimentary posts saying how well Council had done because they not only repaired the footpath, but they also left substantial areas with soil around the new Bottle Brush trees where they will obviously plant something more. I acknowledge that this recent work is wonderful.

Footpaths can be fixed.  So can gutters.  They don’t all have to be uniform at the cost of trees.  Trees of this age & size are of far greater benefit to the community & the urban wildlife.

Council can retain these trees as well as do the proposed civil works. Like they did on the opposite side of the road, they can remove the restricting cement from around the trunks, fix the kerb & let the community continue to enjoy these trees for a few more years. Council can replace the affected part of the gutter with some cement thinner than is usual. This little bit of guttering will need replacing with new cement anyway. Just make it a bit thinner.

The DEADLINE for submissions is MONDAY 8th MARCH 2010.  You can send your submission via e-mail to : or write directly into Council’s online feedback form:

Ivanhoe Street showing the new footpath with large nature strip for the mature trees

2 other trees are also up for removal.  They are both in Steele Park Marrickville South.  1 is a Hills Weeping Fig “before 16 Thornley Street.”  Council says, “Decay at base of trunk will lead to whole tree failure.”  As I have only just seen the notification, I haven’t visited this tree yet.

Council also says there is another tree to go in Steele Park, but the page says there is an error.  I will write about these trees when I know more.

Warren Road has 3 dead trees that have been sitting there for months. Tempe has 2 dead trees, one of which is very large & a Wattle that is dying for lack of a prune.  Victoria Rd Marrickville has a couple of dead trees & many of the Eucalypts around the LGA have dead branches that I have been watching for months.  I fear Council wants to allow these branches to become dangerous so they have a reason to remove the whole tree. Their priorities are skewed.  They leave dead trees standing, but want to chop down living trees. If Marrickville Council wants to be proud of its climate change policy, they need to chop down trees only as last resort & look after the trees we have before it becomes too late.



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