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Lovely new Sydney Blue gum in an empty area next to the stormwater canal. It should add some nice greenery for the houses in this area as well.

Lovely new Sydney Blue gum in an empty area next to the stormwater canal. It should add some nice greenery for the houses in this area as well.

I was so pleased to see that Marrickville Council have planted a 2.2-metre Sydney Blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna) next to the stormwater canal in Mackey Park Marrickville South.

For the first time ever that I have seen, they fixed the label to one of the stakes so that people could read what kind of tree had been planted. Great idea Council.  Hopefully people leave the label in place so everyone can have a read while the tree is establishing itself.

It is especially important to have at least one Sydney Blue gum in Mackey Park as a mature Sydney Blue gum street tree just a few houses away in Premier Street had to be removed recently.  Unfortunately the tree had been planted in an inappropriate site directly next to a deep sunken retaining wall.  A new Sydney Blue gum close by should fill the biodiversity hole left by that tree’s removal as it was bursting with birdlife.

Nice idea for Marrickville Council to attach the label.

Nice idea for Marrickville Council to attach the label.

The tree was still like this late today. It was a guarantee that it would not survive unsupported


Last Tuesday I wrote about a 1-year-old Eucalypt in Mackey Park that had its stakes removed & being in a windy area, was unsupported with most of the tree almost on the ground.

I wrote to a Councillor requesting their help to ask Marrickville Council to re-stake this tree as soon as possible before it died.  On Friday evening this poor tree was still almost prostrate, so today we returned to the park & did the job ourselves.  While Mackey Park does have trees, a tall-growing Gum is much needed for both shade & beauty.  Quite simply, this tree deserved to live.  It’s looking like if you want to keep public trees in this municipality, you either have to fight to keep them or save them yourself.

You can read the previous post about this tree here –


Pink Grevillea

1. Dr Maxine Cooper, the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability & the Environment has released a report recommending that the Urban Forest Renewal Program be tossed out & instead create a new position of Tree Curator to engage with Canberra residents about public trees.  She also recommends an extra $4 million a year ongoing to look after the 730,000 trees in the ACT. “So it’s like our health, if you look after yourself better & give attention to health, there’s less need for medicine. The same for trees. If you look after trees they actually will last longer.”

The Banksias are in flower

2. Mosman Council has a webpage called ‘Big Ideas for Mosman.’ One of the ideas is to plant fruit trees in public places.  This is an initiative I see happening a lot overseas.  Public fruit trees are also being planted as part of Sydney City Council’s Sustainable Streets project.

3. Still with Mosman Council, Brush Turkey chicks have been sighted at Reid Park & Millet Road.  The birds have been recorded in these areas since 2009, but large numbers have not been seen since the Depression when hungry people ate them. Brush Turkeys are protected under the National Parks & Wildlife Act 1974. Male Brush Turkeys continually rake an enormous mound of leaves to keep their eggs at the perfect temperature.

4. Myrtle Rust, a serious fungal disease of plants, has been confirmed in world heritage listed Lamington National Park. Myrtle Rust affects Eucalypts, Bottle brush & Tea tree as well as other Australian native plants. It can have a devastating affect in forests – “deformation of leaves, heavy defoliation of branches, dieback, stunted growth & plant death.” It spreads rapidly & procedures have been put in place to try to prevent this from happening.,20931

Palm tree

On 1st March 2011 Bio Security announced that Myrtle Rust had been found at a Cairns nursery making this the farthest north detection of the fungus.  Associate Professor Andres Drenth, a plant pathologist at the University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences said, “It’s likely to have a substantial long-term impact. It will affect reproductive rates for infected eucalypts. In the next generation, those resistant species will become more dominant & slowly over time you will get a change of species. This will also affect the animals that are dependent on these species.”

5.   Hills Shire Council opened their main street project this week. Unveiled were new street trees & shrubs, new lighting & paving, outdoor-dining spaces & wombat crossings. Wombat Crossings!  How fantastic to have wild wombats in Sydney.

6. An undefined number of Poplar trees were chopped down by Meriton  at a Warriewood Valley development site.  Meriton said the tree removal complied with their DA approved by the Planning Assessment Commission & they will replace the trees with native plants. Residents are angry about the tree-clearing saying they bought their properties because of the green leafy view. Now they will be looking onto & into units.  Poplars are big dramatic broad-leafed trees with lime green leaves. They are popular with birds & make the most terrific sound when the wind blows through the leaves.

7. Currawong, a holiday park opposite Palm Beach in Pittwater has been purchased for $12.2 million by the NSW state government to be made into a new state park. This has been a long battle to keep this iconic park in the ownership of the people.

The Cooks River bank near Mackey park was turned into a crime scene last week. It appears a car was driven into the river

8. Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has ordered the all cows out of Alpine National Park in Victoria by 8th April 2011. The Victorian government put the cows into the national park in January 2011 as “part of a scientific research.” An Environmental Assessment of the impact of cattle grazing in the park had not been performed. When the paperwork was given to the Minister mid-March he said, “The information that has eventually come from the Victorian government is a joke. For something that is meant to be a university research project, we’re provided with documentation that wouldn’t pass as high school science homework.”

9. “Gloves are off” regarding community opposition to the Gunns Ltd pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley.  Over 1,000 people protested at what will likely be the first of many demonstrations since the Federal government approved the $2.5 billion pulp mill. It’s hard for people to say the protests are just the work of green-left radicals when universally loved ex-Gardening Australia host Peter Cundall was one of the main speakers. I.50-minute ABC News video –

10. Staying in Tasmania – whether you like or dislike Senator Bob Brown, his donation of his Liffey Valley bushland home ‘Oura Oura’ in Northern Tasmania to Bush Heritage Australia is a generous act indeed. The 14-hectare parcel of land is environmentally significant & provides habitat to numerous threatened species such as ‘the tasmanian devil, the spotted-tail quoll, the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle & the grey goshawk.’ The Liffey River flows through the land. Senator Brown founded Bush Heritage in 1991. plus a 1.02-minute video showing footage of ‘Oura Oura’ land.

Gum nuts


I went to Peace Park in Chippendale this week to speak with a friend.  We didn’t stay because the park was full of people & all the seats were taken.  This isn’t a whinge. For a

These are the team seats & the only seating outside the play ground

small park it is a lovely area, full of seats & full of shade.  It was not surprising that people chose to leave their homes or workplace & come & sit in the park.  We just were not early enough.

It made me think of the number of people who have spoken to me of late about the lack of seating in Mackey Park or along the Cooks River.  Sorry Marrickville Council, but they are not happy.  Various people have approached me & said the following –

“I can’t take my 72-year old mum down to Mackey Park because there is nowhere she can sit.  She doesn’t want to sit in the playground.”

“I’ve seen old ladies sitting on the ground. Why aren’t there any benches?”

“You can’t sit anywhere along the Cooks River & watch the water go by.”

“Two little benches is not enough for the clubs. These are not even enough for two teams & there is usually more than one game at the park at the one time.”

“Where are the families watching their kids’ games going to sit?”

“It’s hot. There are no trees near the fields.”

“Mackey Park was better 10 years ago.  The older people used to come down to the park & socialize.”

“They don’t want the community to use the park.”

“Why aren’t there any shrubs on the embankment? It looks too bare.”

I vacillated about writing about this as Mackey Park is the golden project at the moment & a lot of money has been spent.  I didn’t want to be seen as ungrateful & picking holes in the work that had been done. But too many people asked when was I going to write about this.

Personally I think the work that has been done is great, especially the wetland.  I love that we still have the Mackey Park Figs & that herons, ibis, ravens & ducks have moved in.  I like that the community can still walk through the park to Tempe Railway Station & they are not shoved out to navigate Richardsons Crescent as was the original plan.  I like that 2 Eucalypts have been planted on the verge at Carrington Road. I also like the playground & think it is far better than what was previously there.

Mackey Park sign

However, I have to agree that there needs to be seating around the fields for players, coaches, parents, any onlookers as well as use by the general community. A lot of people come to this park when there are soccer games &  practice is on.  I also think that tall growing shade producing trees could be planted around the perimeter of the park.

I think that some benches & tables could be placed near other shade trees, but close enough to the road for people to meet & talk with their friends.  I very much believe that there needs to be a number of benches at intervals along & facing the Cooks River where there is a break in the mangroves & the river can be seen.

It’s wonderful that money was spent on Mackey Park, but there is serious community debate as to whether the infrastructure is sufficient for both the players & the community.  When I suggested that people should contact Council & tell them themselves, I was told that this was my role, to speak for them in this case.

So Marrickville Council, how about planting some shade producing trees, putting in some more seating & a couple of tables?  And maybe some ground-covering Grevilleas to cover up the bare earth & provide food for the birds on the embankment & add some colour & beauty?  I think these things will make a lot of people happy.

I have posted a 1.14 minute YouTube video for those who are interested –

Part of the embankment at Mackey Park

After a $3.1 million refurbishment funded by the federal government & Marrickville Council, the new playground, a renovated club house, new sports fields with underground drainage, a new wetland & a new set up of pedestrian paths & lighting will be unveiled in Mackey Park Marrickville South on –

  • Thursday 9th December 2010
  • 4pm
  • Everyone is welcome.

The playground is still wrapped ready for the opening

Anthony Albanese, Member for Grayndler will open the refurbished Mackey Park along with Mayor Fiona Byrne.  There will be a sausage sizzle & the local soccer club, the Red Devils will test out the new fields with a six-a-side soccer game.

The sports fields are flat, flat, flat!

We went down to Mackey Park today & it looks good. The playground is modern & the sporting fields are so flat they could be used for giant lawn bowls.

The wetland is being constructed & I think this is going to be terrific for biodiversity in the area as well as cleaning up water entering the Cooks River.  While we were there a lone Heron walked below the Mackey Park Fig trees picking up fruit.  The wetlands will undoubtedly add more habitat & food sources for birds like these.




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