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A couple of days ago I received an email from some residents of Newtown.  The following is part of their email –

“We would like to nominate a site for tree planting – the intersection of Phillip & Gladstone Streets Newtown (just down from Enmore Theatre), in particular in front of the Newtown Railcorp substation.

This is a barren, treeless area with a great deal of bitumen/cement paving that is very hot in summer & attracts the dumping of rubbish by passers by. This area extends along Gladstone Street towards the Wheat silos where there are several commercial premises, most notably Ausscrap.

This street also attracts a great deal of rubbish dumping due to the barren, commercial nature of the area. For some reason this rubbish is not picked up or reported to council & as such can lie around for weeks on end. We suspect this may be linked to the lack of residential pride in the street & feel this could be improved by planting trees &/or providing landscaping.”

Treeless stretch in Gladstone Street Newtown. There are no overhead power lines

I know this area & went to have a closer look. There is a small number of street trees, but they are small stature trees & not likely to grow much bigger. They certainly do not produce much shade.

There are long stretches on both sides of Gladstone Street without any greenery street or trees.  As there is not much room on the footpath, perhaps trees can be planted on the sides of the road?  The road is certainly wide enough to accommodate this.  There are no overhead powerlines so taller-growing trees with a decent sized canopy could be planted.  Phillip Street also has plenty of places for street trees.

This is a busy area with lots of through traffic & a train line at the end of the block.  The noise from vehicles & passing trains is quite considerable.  Street trees would help buffer the noise & also collect particulate matter from the vehicles, lowering local air pollution.

There was quite a bit of dumped rubbish scattered around, including mattresses.  Recent research has connected a high rate of dumping with a lack of street trees. People start to care less about the environment when it lacks trees & landscaping.  The more natural beauty in an area, the more people look after it & feel pride in their environment.

Marrickville Council, I ask that you seriously consider planting street trees in this area for the benefit of the residents & the workers.  It looks neglected compared to the other ends of both streets.

You can watch a 1-minute YouTube video of this area here –

If you would like to nominate a site in Marrickville LGA that you think could benefit from some trees, just send me an email with the area details.  savingourtrees (at)

Another view of Gladstone Street Newtown.


It is at least 3 weeks now that about 200kgs of smelly rubbish has been dumped against 1 of the Figs at the bottom of Renwick Street outside the industrial development under construction.

This rubbish is so heavy, a man can't move it. It must be causing problems for the tree

This part of Renwick Street has for many years been a favourite spot for dumping rubbish. Kitchens, bathroom tiles, bricks, fibro; renovation material destined for the tip finds its way to be dumped against the trunks of these gorgeous trees.

This area needs policing by council.  At very least visible signage could be

The canopy is thin & leaves are constantly being dropped. The trees do not look lush & green like they did just a couple of years ago

put in place warning of fines if caught.  Council’s own anti-dumping policy indicates they are prepared to police hot-spots. This is a hot-spot.

The dumping of rubbish against the trees is having a detrimental affect on their health. Who knows what poisons the bags contain that leak or get washed into the ground when it rains. The trees themselves appear to be deteriorating at a rate of knots. Such a shame when they are our historical heritage. Once they are gone, they are gone.

As I write I wonder whether Council could cordon them off & give them some fertiliser to help the trees recover from such abuse instead of just allowing them to slowly die. The trees have also had to cope with development very close to them.  Just a thought.

I have previously written about my concern for these Fig trees here –


Driving down Renwick Street Marrickville South yesterday afternoon I saw to my horror a pile of greenery lying at the base & along the gutter underneath the Hills Figs near the corner of Carrington Road.  These trees have been mutilated AGAIN!  I last posted about this group of trees on 5th January 2010 –

I have watched these trees since 1996.  These magnificent Hills Figs stood sentinel to the old PYE factory. For some years an electrical company used a part of the site & the rest was a busy timber yard and then an also busy scaffolding supplier. Large trucks used to go in & out the property 6 days a week & nothing happened to the Fig trees except people used to treat them as a dumping ground for all sorts of household rubbish & for the sake of neatness, they were compelled to put this at the base of their trunks.

Then the property was sold & a DA was lodged with Marrickville Council around 2007.  My awareness of these Fig trees heightened because part of the DA was to remove a perfectly healthy magnificent Hills Fig on the Warren Road side of the development & a couple of others on Carrington Rd & Renwick Street for driveways & public visibility of the complex itself.  The community fought this DA for a year ending up in the Land & Environment Court.  The outcome concerning the trees was that only one tree would be removed to construct a driveway at a different place at the front of the development. The community’s fight managed to keep the loss down to one tree.

Over the past 2-3 years, I have watched all sorts of massive damage occur to these trees.  No one knows who is doing it, though we surmise it is done by parking trucks because the damage is done high up in the branches on the road side of the tree.

Renwick Street Marrickville South showing the actual path drivers take & how much room & clearance there is regarding the row of Hills Fig trees

The Fig trees on Carrington Road are literally cleaved out after trucks parking there tore off branches. It’s unlikely that passing trucks did the damage as Marrickville Council has pruned these trees to ensure they are not an obstacle to traffic.  Both Carrington Road & Renwick Street are wide enough for trucks to pass easily & safely.  However, Council seems to not be able to do anything about drivers who decide to park close to the kerb & ram their way through branches.  The only solution is to prohibit trucks parking there.

Do the drivers come in so fast they are unable to brake?  Or do they find the branches a pest & deliberately ram into them?

These trees are very much loved by the community.  They are a landmark in the area &, as there are not many large street trees in this area, we would like to keep them for as long as possible.

I have asked people how they feel about these trees & the response is always one of fervent approval immediately followed by concern that something is going to happen to them.  Recently people have approached me to talk about the state of the Hills Figs on Carrington Road.  In conversations there is an air of pessimism about these trees.

The Tree Strategies Issues Paper which was before Council earlier this year recommended that 59% of the trees in Marrickville LGA be removed.  Council were recommending targeting the mature trees which were labelled ‘senescent,’ meaning ‘approaching an advanced age.’  This block of Hills Figs are senescent.  I would guess they are around 80 years old.

Am I alone in thinking that older, mature trees look fabulous in the main?  It is their size & height that I find particularly attractive & trees need years to grow large.  I don’t understand the need to chop trees down when they are mature, though it has been explained to me that urban trees find it difficult to grow to their full life span because of the difficulties inherent in an urban environment – soil compaction, injury, lack of water, lack of nutrients, disease.  Why can’t Council take special care of our older special trees when they are senescent?  Why is the answer to chop them?  I need to say here that Marrickville Council has not suggested removing these particular trees.

Considering all the adversity these trees are suffering because of human activity, I fear that Council will look at these trees in a year or two & say, “Too damaged.  They need to be removed.”  Chop!  There goes another link to the area’s history & another major loss of beauty that we sorely need.  Not to mention the CO2 sequestration they achieve.

It would be preferable if Council could do something to prevent trucks parking there because the drivers can’t be trusted to not damage the trees.  I know that City of Sydney Council would not tolerate such vandalism done to their trees.  They consider trees the city’s assets & I think they exercise more power over roads because of being the city of Sydney.

I also believe that if Marrickville Council did have a Significant Tree Register, this would go some way in helping implement strategies to protect these trees from drivers.

This week’s damage destroyed yet another large branch.  The photos below tell the remainder of the story.

The yellow arrows indicate damage spots to two of the trees



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