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Part of the new garden in Tempe Reserve with the Robyn Webster Sports Club painted by Bronwyn Bancroft in the background

Marrickville Council has done some very lovely work of late near the barbeque area of Tempe Reserve.  They have planted a number of Eucalypts on a small hillock that separates this area from the carpark behind the Robyn Webster Sports Centre that was designed & painted by Aboriginal artist Bronwyn Bancroft. There are more Eucalypts scattered around a swale that doubles as a rockery. Banksias have been planted as well & some are already flowering.

Nice cuts of sandstone have been laid in a crazy paving design along a pedestrian walkway beside the rockery.  Other paths in the same area are ordinary concrete for accessibility & for the kids who play on their bikes & skates here.

The boulders used to create the rockery look to have been chosen for their beauty as most have lovely patterns & have been laid as such.  Thankfully they are too large for people to cart them off for their own garden.

Part of the garden leading to the swale

Various grasses & lilies have been planted in & around the rockery. The rockery eventually becomes a swale that takes excess water to the Cooks River.

The barbeque area has a knee-high raised & curved ledge for seating that is covered with slate. I think it is beautiful.  In fact this whole area is beautiful & will only get better as everything grows. The trees look to be able to create shade when they grow & this will make the whole area more user friendly.

Rockery and crazy paving

There is a lot of seating & covered benches with tables so that people can eat & socialize out of the sun.  The area is close enough to the Cooks River for people to be able to see the river as well as close to the playground that was completed early 2010. The playground itself is a great one for children as it has an extensive ‘Jungle Jim’ & it is fenced.

This area is very family friendly & many people use this space in the evenings & at the weekend.  In my opinion, Tempe Reserve just keeps getting better. There are other areas that Marrickville Council plant out in time as this is a huge area & could do with more trees, however, what they have done is excellent.

In another post I will write about the saltwater wetland, the ring of Figs & the native bush areas that offer food & habitat.

If you haven’t visited Tempe Reserve yet, it is well worthwhile.  The Rock & Roll Alternative Markets happen at the Jets Sports Club from 11am on the third Sunday of each month so you can roam around these very interesting markets, listen to live music, have a dance, then have a walk around Tempe Reserve. There is also a native garden very near the Jets Sports Club that I think is managed by the volunteers of The Friends of the Cooks River Valley Garden. Then there is the boat harbour lined with Fig trees near to the Princes Highway with a new pier that was built last year.  If you still have energy, the Tempe Wetlands are right next door & they too are worth a visit. You will forget you are close to the city, except when a plane flies over.

Slate bench around the barbeque with the Tempe Reserve Playground in the background


the community does not want this road through Tempe

Today, around 300 people attended a protest walk across Tempe Reserve to the RTA’s community consultation about the planned 4 lane arterial road.  The walkers could be heard chanting as they approached.  Then with a roar, they came around the trees & stood facing the tent where about 20 people were listening to a talk by the RTA on the ‘road to nowhere.’

The ‘No WAY RTA’ banner carried by local residents led the walk closely followed by the Marrickville Council banner carried by Councillors O’Sullivan, Olive, Peters, Phillips, Byrne & Mayor Iskandar. State Greens MP Lee Rhiannon also attended.  Many people expressed disappointment that other State & local MPs were not in attendance.

After a few minutes the crowd progressed to the tent & listened to the speaker.  The protesters respected that the RTA staff had a job to do & did not interrupt.  Besides, the information about this road has been vague, so everyone wanted to know the details of what was being proposed.

I asked about the location & height of the 4 lane arterial road & how many trees will be chopped down to achieve this.  The staff member said he had no idea, acknowledging, “Some trees will have to go.”  He did however, show me the route of the road & said, “It will be at least 10 metres above the ground, higher in some places.”  He said the road could not travel along the Alexandria Canal because it will cross the flight path.  Another person pointed out that the intended route put the road on top of a hill travelling in the same direction & this would also affect the flight path so the rationale didn’t make sense.  I think there is a plan cooking somewhere to build units along the Alexandria Canal.

The details of the proposed 4 lane arterial road as I understood are:

  • The road will require the removal of many mature trees in a park on the Rockdale Council side of the Cooks River (do they care?)
  • It will cross the Cooks River & travel between the mature Fig tree situated on the point of Tempe Reserve & the Robyn Webster Sports Centre (the white building with the brown drawings designed & painted by Aboriginal artist Bronwyn Bancroft as part of the Marrickville Council Public Arts Strategy in 2004)
  • 2-3 mature Fig trees look to be in the way of the road, however the staff member said this was only a guideline & may change
  • The road will go through & above the seating in rotundas, the barbeque areas & the extensive & well loved playground
  • It will then follow the curve of the park along Alexandria Canal cutting off access to the water (I doubt people will want to sit under a 4 lane highway)
  • Then it will cut through the urban forest on the city-side of the park before it travels along the crest of the hill just above Tempe Wetlands, & beside a golf driving range.  It will overlook houses in Tempe & most certainly be visible from the Princes Highway
  • The road will stop at Sydney Park & much of the 15,000 vehicles/day will end up on King Street & Euston Road

at today's protest

This road is of great concern because of pollution, noise, impact on the community, respiratory illnesses, damage to Tempe Reserve & the park on Kogarah side & both the Cooks River & the Alexandria Canal & will increase traffic through Newtown, St Peters & surrounds.

Community group Tempe 2020 are there to provide details about how this road will affect their community (see What’s on page).  SoT is concentrating on the impact it will have on trees, wildlife, the river & the Tempe Wetlands.

The well-utilised beautiful park on the Kogarah side of the river will be massively affected.  Here, I have photographed cormorants drying off their wings on the banks of the Cooks River.  It is filled with wildlife that will be severely impacted by the making of this road & the addition of thousands of vehicles speeding past each day.

Tempe Reserve is a beautiful park in its infancy.  Marrickville Council have spent millions repairing it & creating biologically diverse areas such as a salt marsh & ephemeral wetland to provide habitat for flora & fauna.  In about 10 years it will look significantly more beautiful as the current works will have established themselves & the trees will have matured. It is used by many people 7 days a week & not just for sporting activities. I do not think the community can afford to lose either park to a major road.

impact on Tempe Reserve

Most people are attracted to the point of the peninsula & Marrickville Council knows this because that’s where they put the barbeques, the playground & the seating & this is exactly where the RTA intend to put the road.

I feel annoyed that the State government & the RTA have so little respect & appreciation for these areas.  I can only assume that they, as many people in Sydney, don’t realise just what a jewel this area is.  Friends glaze over if I mention the Cooks River.  Years ago they heard it was ugly & dirty & this has remained in their consciousness.  Now it is full of lovely regrowth areas.

The State Government should be doing everything in their power to protect Tempe Wetlands & the Cooks River, which is also highly visible as one of the gateways to Sydney from the airport.  Sydney also needs to keep places like this for future generations & for wildlife.  This is a densely populated area of the inner west with few parks per capita.

The wildlife in my opinion is quite stressed with the rapid urbanisation & the continued loss of where they can live & find food.  Stopping on the perimeter of Tempe Wetlands to take photos today, the air was alive with the sounds of insects humming away.  Walk inside & you could be in a national park.

Not everything of beauty should be destroyed for more roads.  In my opinion, the State government are continuing to build this city for vehicles, not for people. As long as you encourage cars, roads will always be filled.  Spend the money earmarked for this project on public transport, not for a road system that ends nowhere & is going to force drivers into crowded Alexandria and King Street that is barely coping now.  Let the wildlife have a little pocket for themselves.  Future generations will thank you for it.



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