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National Tree Day 2012 at Wolli Creek

I went to a lovely National Tree Day event today organized by the Wolli Creek Preservation Society – contact link on blogroll on the left-hand column.  A large crowd of all ages divided into small groups for a guided walk through the area of Wolli Creek bushland that is at risk of being destroyed for an extension to the M5 motorway tunnel.

From the Wolli Creek Preservation Society newsletter June 2012 – “The top priority for the society at present is the threat posed to the Wolli Valley bushland by the Roads & Maritime Services proposed duplication of the M5 east motorway tunnel. Plans for a cut-and-cover tunnel east of Bexley Road would wipe out a rare stand of remnant rainforest trees, wreck the natural creek line & destroy two hectares of high-priority bushland where restoration work has proved highly successful.  Exploratory drilling could happen at any time.”

A lovely way to indicate the path, trees & places of note

Painted hands prepared by local school children marked the track & here & there in the bush some of the beautiful trees were wrapped in colourful material.  This was very successful in bringing one’s eye to the range of trees within this area.  It was a gorgeous effect & must have taken quite a while for those who prepared the site for today.  It was interesting to have the time to look at the trees that could be lost to the M5 tunnel & appreciate just how many very large trees are located in this section of Wolli Creek.

What was also nice & helpful was that plants, weeds & trees were labeled along the path allowing us to learn their names, as well as know what vegetation was good & what were weeds.

This Sydney Peppermint was massive with a girth of around 5-metres

There was also a historical section called ‘Bowen’s Camp’ showing where a couple with two children lived during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  This would not have been an easy time & though water is close, growing food must have been hard in the sandy soil.  I thought it quite lovely that the sandstone markers the Bowen family used for their paths & gardens had been preserved & not lost over time.

The walk finished at the new Bioretention Basin – see –  & then went up to Johnston Avenue where a sumptuous morning tea was waiting.  A volunteer gave a number of illustrated talks about the history of this section of Wolli Creek & how the M5 motorway tunnel would literally destroy the area we just walked through.

I’ve been to a number of National Tree Day events & planted trees. This was the first event where I was given time to admire trees as well as information about an area of bushland that I knew very little about.  I enjoyed the experience & very much hope that a new route is found for the M5 motorway tunnel.

A short diversion of the M5 tunnel route would allow a very special piece of vital bushland to be retained.  This would be very good for wildlife that have very little in terms of real areas of habitat left in the inner west & also provide many ongoing & important health benefits for the community.  Wolli Creek itself & the Wolli Creek Preservation Society deserve our support to retain this precious area of remnant Sydney bushland.

The section of Wolli Creek under threat is more than trees. It is also huge sandstone rocks & all the flora, including rare orchids

Wolli Creek is full of trees just like these.



This is in the section of Wolli Creek that is under threat

The only local event for National Tree Day this year is ‘Hug a tree in Wolli’ organised by the Wolli Creek Preservation Society.  Their pamphlet says, For National Tree Day this year, instead of planting trees in Wolli we want to celebrate some of the magnificent mature trees that are already there!”

This precious pocket of rainforest is the subject of a great news segment recently on the 7.30 Report on ABC1, which you can watch here –

It will happen on –

  • Sunday 29th July
  • 10 am to 12 noon
  • Meet at the junction of Bexley Road & the footpath leading to Johnston Street for a short guided walk.
  • They ask that you, “wear sensible walking shoes & clothes & bring a plate & join other tree huggers for tea, cake & a chat about the threat to the area.”

There is also a short video about the event here –

It is quite an important event as this area of Wolli Creek that is at extreme risk should the NSW government decide to extend the M5 at the end of 2012.  If this area were destroyed it would be an incredible loss to the community & especially the wildlife.

Wolli Creek is a very special & important area.  It is vital habitat for flying foxes as well as the overall biodiversity of the Inner West.  We cannot destroy everything for roads.  Nature needs a place & people also need nature.  I’m with Ansel Adams who said, “It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”  Let’s hope this doesn’t eventuate & they find an alternative route for the tunnel expansion.

Marrickville Council will be celebrating National Tree Day later in the year on Sunday 9th September 2012 with tree planting planned for the Marrickville Golf Course.  I will write more about this closer to the date.



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