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I think many people will love the idea of becoming part of a tree when they die.

I think many people will love the idea of becoming part of a tree when they die.

I love memorial trees.  To me they represent life, beauty & a celebration of the life of the person who has passed.  I know that memorial trees are very healing for people who have lost someone they love.

I am excited to see that finally we can choose to have our cremated remains become part of a new living tree, but only in Victoria at the moment.  Let’s hope this concept spreads Australia-wide.

The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust in Melbourne is introducing ‘The Living Legacy’ program at all of its nineteen Melbourne cemeteries.  The program will allow people to have their cremated ashes turned into fertilizer.  See –

“The product will be incorporated into the root ball of existing trees so the person who has passed literally becomes part of the tree.   How lovely is that.

Not only will one tree be planted to commemorate the death of a person – “a further 200 will be donated to create urban forests in cities in Australia & overseas.”

The trees will be planted by

The trees planted in Australia will be planted by ‘Greenfleet’ an Australian non-profit environmental organization.  Greenfleet also have a carbon offset program where you can donate to have your carbon footprint offset with new trees planted in reforestation projects around Australia.  See –

Melbourne man Warren Roberts came up with the idea of ‘The Living Legacy’ program after the death of his best friend.  “He said he was not able to properly grieve her death for years until he spent time out in gardens, parks and forests, which was when he came up with the idea.” 

Because cremated ashes are toxic to plants Mr Roberts spoke to a number of experts.  He met & formed a professional relationship with scientist Dr Mary Cole who, over a period of two years, developed a method to transform cremated remains into fertilizer & the concept became a reality.

Not only will this program help grieving people.  It will also help reforest Australia, provide habitat for wildlife & help mitigate climate change.  Another bonus is that Australia’s cemeteries are running out of space.

Costa Georgiadis, host of ABC’s TVs ‘Gardening Australia’ is the ambassador for ‘The Living Legacy’ program.  He says, “If we can connect with the longevity of trees, then the baton that we hand to the next generation is spiritually significant.”   I like that.

Tom's sister Kim on the right &  her niece & grandniece on the left watering the tree for the first time.  Marrickville Council even brought watering cans for the family to water the tree.

Tom’s sister Kim on the right & her niece & grandniece on the left watering the tree , a Blueberry ash, for the first time.  Marrickville Council even brought watering cans for the family to use.

This morning I went to a very moving, yet joyous memorial tree-planting event at Enmore TAFE Park in Simmons Street Enmore.

This is the first memorial tree planted for perhaps decades.  I have seen some memorial trees in Camperdown Park that were planted in the 1950s & another in Alison Playground Dulwich Hill.

Until this event, modern day Marrickville Council did not do memorial trees.  Clr Phillips brought the issue as a Notice of Motion to the Council Meeting of 6th November 2012.   Happily the vote to allow this particular memorial tree to be planted & for a policy about memorial trees, to be prepared by Council, was voted unanimously by all Councillors.

This memorial tree was planted for local man Tom Buchanan 1953 – 2005.  He & his family grew up in Simmons Street, opposite the Enmore TAFE Park & before, when the land was a bakery.  Tom’s sisters Kim & Jayne, Jayne’s daughter Jody & Jody’s daughter Emma attended the planting today.   Kim had travelled from rural South Australia to be here today.   I thank the family for allowing me to attend.

Marrickville Council gave the family a choice of tree species & they chose a Blueberry ash.

Three Marrickville Council workers prepared the ground for the tree.  The tree was planted & each family member was allowed to finish the planting.  New mulch surrounded the tree.  The tree itself was a beautiful specimen standing over 2-metres tall.  It has been planted in an empty space with lots of room to grow to its full potential & will be a benefit to the park, to the community & to urban wildlife.

Jayne spoke beautifully about the meaning of the memorial tree for their family, as well as future generations of their family.  She also spoke of her brother & how much he would have liked this.  One of Marrickville Council’s Tree Managers also spoke about the importance of this tree.  It was nice to see him there, representing Council.

We al loved that the staff went to such effort to decorate a brand new spade for the event.   This was very nice of Council.

We all loved that the staff went to such effort to decorate a brand new spade for the event. This was very nice of Council.

The Council workers had made an effort with small things that make quite a difference.  The spade was shining new & they had tied a bow around it.  We all noticed & this pleased the family greatly.

It was not like a funeral.  There was more joy that this was happening, than sadness, though the family said there would be tears once they got home.  I mention this because some may feel that these kinds of events would be maudlin, but in reality they are events that bring peace & happiness.  The family said other members of the family will visit the tree over the years & ensure their children & grandchildren see where it is.

I thank the Marrickville Councillors for voting to allow this to happen.  I also thank Marrickville Council & the Council staff for the trouble they took to make this a meaningful event.  The tree was beautiful, the effort to make the spade pretty was perfect, the speeches & the smiling staff was lovely.  This was a great event & it made the family very happy.  For me it felt great to be part of something that has so much meaning & brings happiness to people.

I hope that when the report does come back to the Council Meeting that the recommendation is to allow memorial trees to be planted across Marrickville LGA & that this is supported by the Marrickville Councillors.

Trees bring people happiness & help with grief, especially as they are symbolic of ongoing life.  It would be wonderful if our Council could be a facilitator of healing in the community.

From left to right:  Kim, Marrickville Council workers, Jody & Emma & Marrickville Council's Tree Manager.

From left to right: Kim, Marrickville Council workers, Jody & Emma & Council’s Tree Manager.

From left to right:  Jody, Emma, Kim & Jayne with Tom's tree.

From left to right: Jody, Emma, Kim & Jayne with Tom’s tree.



Illawarra Flame tree – currently a blaze of red in Illawarra Road Marrickville

This was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr Hanna.  The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

Notice of Motion Memorial tree – Clr Phillips:Request for a tree to be planted, (no plaque & the cost borne by the family) in Enmore TAFE Park in memory of a recently deceased individual who was raised in the area & a report be prepared providing options to formulate a policy to accommodate any future requests for memorial plaques or structures within the Marrickville LGA.

I spoke for the motion:  I was contacted by the family after they did not receive a response from Council. Their only son & brother died in his mid thirties & the family would like to have a nice tree planted in Enmore TAFE Park because he grew up in Simmons Street & went to this park pretty much every day of his life. They do not want a plaque.  They just want to have a beautiful living tree planted as a way to express love & pay tribute to their son & brother.  I do not think this is too much to ask.  Marrickville Council would be in control.  Council will choose the tree & plant it. The family will pay all costs.  I realize there may be some fear that Marrickville LGA might become like a cemetery, but if there were no plaques, nothing to say the tree concerns a dead person, how would this be so?  People & the environment will benefit by more trees planted & Council will also benefit by not having to pay for this.  I firmly believe that Marrickville Council should be following the lead of other nearby Councils by having an option for the community to pay for a memorial tree or park bench.  Sydney Council, Leichhardt Council, Canterbury Council & Burwood Council – all allow memorial trees & benches.  It’s in your business paper.  Almost every week I sit on a memorial bench with a small brass plaque that Canterbury Council has placed overlooking the Cup & Saucer Creek Wetlands.   It doesn’t make me feel sad.  Yet if I walk from Mackey Park to Steel Park, there is nowhere to sit.  This is hard for older people or people who are not well.  No park bench means they don’t even attempt the walk.  If Council can’t afford park benches, then please allow the community to pay for them. Council still keeps control so there should be no problem.  However, tonight I am asking that you allow the Bishop family to honour their son & brother by letting them to pay for a lovely tree to be planted in Enmore TAFE Park.  It would make a grieving family very happy & it is the right thing to do.

Clr Phillips: I was informed that MC doesn’t have a policy & that I should take a Notice of Motion.  It would mean a lot to the family.  For the second part – MC to prepare a policy so staff can have guidance so these don’t have to come to a Council Meeting.  I think MC should have a policy.

No debate. Vote – unanimous on both this tree & a policy to be created. Here ends the report for this week.

It’s been a while since I’ve had the space to write about this amazing project that would have just started in Southern Queesnsland.

The Condamine Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation plans to create a Celtic ‘eternity knot’ symbol out of trees, calling it Treehenge.

More than 85,000 trees will be planted in the design that will cover an area of around 6 football fields wide by 15 football fields long at the head of the Condamine River.  This area is called the Condamine River Basin & the Condamine Alliance expects that the eternity knot will be visible from the International Space Station.

The Condamine River flows to Adelaide & it is hoped that many more trees will be planted the length of the river to improve the land of one of Australia’s major food bowls, the Darling Downs.  The Condamine Alliance also intend to improve biodiversity by providing lost habitat for native wildlife.

“The trees planted will repair eighty hectares of eroded land, help improve air & water quality & ultimately encourage the return of native animals such as koalas, wallabies, echidna, black snakes & blue tongues.”

What an amazing project & such a bonus for the environment.  Everyone can be a part of this project by donating a tree.  They are doing something which I love; that is giving people the opportunity to have a tree planted to commemorate an important occasion – weddings, christenings, milestones & deaths, even a tree for your pet.  Trees are expected to live for more than-30 years. You can find Treehenge here –

Image sourced from the Treehenge website

The Chinese style bridge in Kogarah Park is very picturesque as are the trees that are everywhere throughout this very pretty park

Not really a secret, but I bet many people in Marrickville LGA don’t know of this stunningly beautiful park in Rockdale.  Aptly named Rockdale Park, it reminds me of a small Botanic Garden.  Trees are not just planted around the perimeter as is usual in our LGA, but all throughout the park.   If you take a walk around, you wander into ‘rooms,’ all with a different view & feel.  It’s a landscaper’s delight.

There are trees everywhere. Big shade trees like Figs & Flame trees. There are also Conifers, Eucalypts, Jacarandas, Grevilleas, Olives, Tulip trees & a hoard of other trees that I can’t identify.  Amazingly their side branches have not been removed so they have been able to retain their natural beautiful shape. It’s true you do need to look where you are going because tree branches are from ankle to eye height & above.  I doubt however, that anything bad has happened because of the way the park has been set out.  The trees of Rockdale Park are how trees looked when I was growing up.

An Olive tree planted as a memorial tree for International Day of Mourning. Marrickville Council removes Olive trees in public places.

Rockdale Council has created areas of understory habitat with groups of trees of all different species, shapes & sizes planted together in areas where one would have to push through to get across the undergrowth. These are perfect places for urban wildlife to live & forage for food, yet be safe from people.  To see this in a park is wonderful. It has been created for both people & wildlife & the amount of birds is evidence that they like the place.

There is a man-made stream no deeper than 15cms curving through the park with numerous concrete stepping-stones so that children can play over the water.  Unfortunately the stream is turned off these days, perhaps because of the drought or perhaps issues of public liability. Crossing the stream is a Chinese style red bridge reminiscent of a Monet painting. The park is a very good setting for artists as there is beauty wherever one looks.

There is a rotunda, barbeques, a bubbler & public toilets. There is no shortage of seating with park benches everywhere taking in the different views.  There are memorial trees as well.  Seems Rockdale Council has understood how trees can be living memorials & meaningful to the community.

There are spaces to throw a ball or play touch footie, but it isn’t a sporting park.  It’s a park to relax, contemplate, read a book, meditate, have a family picnic or barbeque or quiet time with a loved one.  It’s a romantic park that changes with the seasons, but doesn’t lose its secluded feel.   I went in autumn so there was lots of colour. Late spring, early summer would see the Jacarandas come into flower & create purple carpets.  It’s also a great park for a child’s birthday party as there are plenty of things that kids would find interesting & the bridge & stream make perfect, safe areas to play.

Parking is easy on Bryant Street.  You can still hear the traffic of West Botany Street, but no matter.  This is the kind of park that allows you to feel that you are away from the madding crowd, yet close enough to houses & people to feel safe.

So if you wish for somewhere to go on the weekend or after work before the sun goes down, Rockdale Park on the corner of West Botany Road & Bryant Street Rockdale is well worth a visit.    I have made a YouTube video so you can have a look for yourself –

I'm looking down to this branch of a tree in Kogarah Park. Rockdale Council has planted deciduous as autumn features throughout the park & leave the leaves when they drop.



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