You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Tempe Wetlands’ tag.

Tempe Wetlands - now safe from the WestConnex Motorway

Tempe Wetlands – now safe from the WestConnex Motorway

A Press Release from Marrickville Council says that the NSW state government & the WestConnex Delivery Authority have recognized the importance of Tempe Lands, Tempe Reserve & the Tempe Wetlands telling Council that, “they agree the areas have important recreational, environmental, social & economic value.”

“Planning for the WestConnex M5 Extension route between St Peters & Beverly Hills is now expected to be revised accordingly.” Hopefully, this will save the Wolli Creek bushland & some 400 mature trees & a vital & important habitat for urban wildlife.

This is wonderful news.  The Tempe Wetlands are an important ecological area for the wildlife. The ‘Tempe Birdos,’ a local group of bird-watching volunteers have spotted nearly 60 birds species, three frog species, two reptile species & one species of dragonfly since starting to document the wildlife in November 2011.  For more information, including how to join the Tempe Birdos, see –

Tempe Lands, Tempe Wetlands & Tempe Reserve are all important areas of green space for the Marrickville community, especially as we have the least green space in the whole of Australia. To have a motorway go through these areas would have been a disaster for the residents of Tempe, the wildlife & the users of this green space. It makes me very happy to be able to write that it is not going ahead. Thank you to Marrickville Council for all the lobbying they undertook to obtain this positive outcome.

This is in the section of Wolli Creek that is under threat  Hopefully it will be untouched by the WestConnex Motorway & safe for future generations.

This is in the section of Wolli Creek that is under threat Hopefully it will be untouched by the WestConnex Motorway & safe for future generations.

Tempe Reserve - safe from WestConnex.

Tempe Reserve – safe from WestConnex.

Screen shot of the video summary showing one view of the area in Tempe that would be affected by the motorway.  The violet line shows the route of the motorway

Called ‘WestConnex’ & starting at Parramatta, the M4 will be widened probably removing many of the trees planted for the 2000 Olympics. It then travels up a widened Parramatta Road with an under street level slot for the motorway with Parramatta Road still able to function. A small inset in the video link below shows a boulevard-look with lots of street trees beside high-rise residential development.  This will be a huge change for the suburbs along Parramatta Road.

The WestConnex Motorway travels up to Taverners Hill in Petersham & then underground with a 5km tunnel from Taverners Hill to St Peters, “returning local roads to the Inner West community.”  No stacks were mentioned, but they come with tunnels as far as I am aware.  The tunnel runs under the Princes Highway side of Sydney Park coming to the surface in the grounds of what I think is ‘Dial a Dump’ where coal seam gas mining was to happen & may still happen yet.

The motorway then travels beside the Alexandra Canal & through the container terminal at Tempe.  It then travels above/beside the Tempe Wetlands & within spitting distance of the houses below at East Tempe. From there the road travels through all the trees planted beside Tempe Reserve & along the eastern side of Tempe Reserve through the playground & picnic facilities & over the Cooks River to travel through the Kogarah Golf Course, finally meeting with the M5 that will also be widened.  The point at Tempe Reserve is the only point along the Cooks River until the river enters Botany Bay.

There appears to be an alternate route shown very briefly at 2.31secs on the video. This follows the Alexandra Canal avoiding the Tempe Wetlands, though it still travels through Tempe Reserve.

The video says that the project is the ‘highest priority’ for the NSW government with the route of the WestConnex still at concept stage.  The TV news tonight says it will probably be funded by multiple tolls.

Way back in 2007 there was a US study published in the Medical Journal The Lancet, “linking motorway pollution with permanent and life-limiting damage to children’s lungs. People who live within 500 metres of a motorway grow up with significantly reduced lung capacity, & even children who have never experienced asthma are at risk.”  –  

I wrote about a 2010 study done by the US Health Effects Institute who reviewed 700 worldwide health-pollution studies. They found that traffic pollution within a 500-metre radius of a major thoroughfare was likely to exacerbate asthma in children, trigger new asthma cases across all ages, impair lung function in adults & could cause cardiovascular illness & death.  See – 

Last July 2012, the NSW Department of Health said that an 80% increase in lung cancer cases in residents living near the Turrella stack was unlikely to have been caused by air pollution from the tunnel stack because it takes longer for lung cancer to develop.  NSW Health said they could not find a reason for the massive cancer spike in Turrella residents saying, “it could be purely chance because rates do go up & down & it’s a smallish area & the (cancer) rates are quite volatile in smallish areas.”  Short video here –

However, a 2009 article said that researchers from Macquarie University & Queensland University of Technology found that regular users of Sydney’s M5 East tunnel were risking chronic health problems because of high levels of air pollution in the tunnel, which were 1,000 times higher than in the city. –

So, if it is risky to your health to repeatedly drive in the tunnel, why isn’t the air pollution that comes out of the tunnel in a concentrated form risking the health of nearby residents?

Scientific research studies like the above make me wonder why governments continue to focus on building roads rather than putting the substantial money needed to build these into better public transport.  Many people think more Motorways are not the answer as they fill up & need to be bigger within a very short length of time.

Dreadful is what the Motorway will do to the wetlands, to the park above the wetlands, the considerable tree loss in Tempe & the ruination of Tempe Reserve & the Kogarah Golf Course & to the residents of Tempe & Marrickville.  Perhaps St Peters & Petersham residents will be affected too.  This Motorway may have a bigger impact than I can think of at this stage.

Marrickville LGA has the smallest amount of public green space in Australia, so if this Motorway goes ahead as planned, we will be losing more public green space in Tempe Reserve. This area of Tempe Reserve in particular is usually jam packed with people who use the great children’s playground, the barbeques & the picnic kiosks as well as the river for fishing.  Large groups of children use the basketball courts behind the Robyn Webster Sport Centre as well.  Tempe Reserve & the wetlands are a vital area for wildlife habitat in Marrickville LGA.  It is not the place for a major motorway if you care about the health & happiness of people & the environment.

Drivers will be ecstatic, so I expect that there will be anger at any community opposition to the Motorway.  However, I am pretty sure there will be significant community opposition in this municipality if the past is a realistic guide.

You can watch a video summary of WestConnex showing the proposed route at –

The NSW government is seeking community feedback.  You can email them at – or write at – Infrastructure NSW – 
PO Box R220 
Royal Exchange NSW 1225

Screenshot of the motorway route through Tempe Reserve

Screen shot showing the route through the point at Tempe Reserve, over the Cooks River & through Kogarah Golf Course.

This screenshot view shows how deep into Tempe Reserve the motorway goes.



Cup and Saucer Creek Wetland

Today is the 40th anniversary of the signing of the ‘Convention on Wetlands of International Importance’ in Ramsar, Iran in 1971.  This year the theme is ‘Wetlands & Forests.’

Australia has 62 wetlands listed as internationally significant under the Ramsar Convention.  There are 1,911 other listed wetland sites around the world.

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway travels from the Arctic to China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore & down to Australia. Birds migrate annually up & down this flyway stopping at wetlands along the route.

Unfortunately many of the wetlands along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway are being destroyed by urbanization.  Wetlands are being reclaimed for housing, for farming & many are being drained to irrigate farming land.  Also, many of the trees in the wetlands are being chopped down to make charcoal.  Consequently bird numbers are declining, in some cases dramatically.

Hunting & watersports are also a big problem for the birds. Experts agree there is a need for well-managed bird sanctuaries along the migratory flyways where hunting is prohibited & watersports are limited & controlled.

“The IUCN Red List of threatened species has the following categories –

  • Extinct
  • Extinct in the Wild
  • Critically Endangered
  • Endangered
  • Vulnerable
  • Near Threatened or Least Concern.

Over 40,000 species have been assessed for the Red List, of which more than 16,000 are considered threatened with extinction (Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable).  In the latest assessment in 2010, 1,240 species are considered threatened with extinction (i.e. in the categories of Critically Endangered, Endangered & Vulnerable). This represents 12.5% of the total of 9,895 extant bird species in the world. An additional 838 species are considered Near Threatened & 4 are Extinct in the Wild, giving a total of 2,082 species that are urgent priorities for conservation action. Of the threatened species, 190 species are considered Critically Endangered & are therefore at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.”

You can follow the migration of 9 Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwings that have been tagged with satellite transmitters, from their breeding grounds in Kazakhstan to their wintering areas in Africa here –

We have our own little wetland in Tempe that was created by Marrickville Council on what was once a tip.  It’s a gorgeous place that offers habitat for a range of birds, insects & small animals. I made a YouTube video of Tempe Wetlands here –

Sydney Park has a number of wetland areas with another large pond almost completed. (Shown here in the background). These ponds collect & filter local stormwater. The area is already populated by a range of water birds, including Royal Spoonbills. A year or two ago, a pair of Black Swans came & had chicks

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


Marrickville Council as I understand it, is considering putting wind turbines on the hill above Tempe Wetlands to generate electricity & to send a positive message about sustainable green energy to the community as the turbines will be visible from the airport road.

There was some concern about this from the people I spoke to in that they feared birds of the Cooks River & the Tempe Wetlands could be killed by flying into the turbine blades.

It is well known that birds & bats suffer high casualties when there are wind turbines around.  Science Daily published an article in August 2008 saying research done by the University of Calgary in Canada had shown that bats die in much greater numbers from wind turbines than birds do.

Ninety percent of the bats they examined after death showed signs of internal hemorrhaging consistent with trauma from the sudden drop in air pressure (a condition known as barotrauma) at turbine blades. Only about half of the bats showed any evidence of direct contact with the blades.” See –

Today, I read of research by Loughborough University in the United Kingdom that goes a long way to preventing or reducing the death of both birds & bats from the blades of wind turbines simply by changing the colour of the blades.  The traditional white blades are highly attractive to insects & bats & birds go to the turbine area to feed on the insects.  The researchers studied different paint colours on turbine blades & found that insects are least attracted to the colour purple. If insects are not congregating around the turbine blades at night, birds & especially bats will not be attracted to the area.

The researchers also found that the ultraviolet & infrared components of paint colour, which humans cannot see but insects can, also had a significant impact, with higher levels of both attracting more insects.

Although the researchers are slightly cautious, what they found does make sense. It is an easy solution to paint turbines with low ultraviolet & infrared purple paint.   This relatively small change will allow sustainable green energy to be used with the least detrimental impact on wildlife.  Whether Council decides to go ahead with wind turbines above the Tempe Wetlands is something that I guess will be put to the community for consultation.  If they do, I hope they will be purple.  To read the article –



This months Festival of the Trees is looking at food for wildlife.  Marrickville LGA has quite a lot of  wildlife for an inner city urban area, especially with the Cooks River, the Tempe Reserve & Wetlands & some of our major parks.   The presence of nearby Girraween Park  at Wolli Creek helps our urban wildlife enormously.  However, when we first moved into our home 15 years ago there weren’t many birds in our immediate neighbourhood.  There were some of course, but we were not as aware of them as we were in our previous home.  They were mostly Pied Currawongs in winter, Common Mynas all year round & a couple of Turtle Doves as well.  Over the years this has changed significantly.  Now birds feature strongly in our neighbourhood.  So what happened to bring the birds here?

The neighbourhood around us changed in that many new people moved in & they did 3 things.  They removed the cement from their garden, reduced the size of their lawn or did away with it altogether & they planted trees & shrubs, many of them Natives.  Some of my neighbours are spectacular gardeners converting their bare gardens into mini-botanical havens filled with a variety of bird-attracting plants.  The transformation has been dramatic & they still kept the lemon tree.

birds sunning themselves

The other thing I noticed was that many people started putting birdbaths and/or ponds in their gardens.  This combination of water & food brought the birds back in droves.

It also brought the frogs seemingly by magic.  We put in a pond & 2 days later a rare frog breed arrived.  Now we have small frogs that hibernate under our very small piece of lawn.  They wake up in summer & leave at night.  We hear them, but rarely see them.

At least 24 Turtle Doves live in our block now so their family extended. There are many White Eyes, Willy-Wag Tails, Red Wattlebirds, Magpie-larks, Australian Magpies, large groups of Noisy Miners, Red-whiskered Bulbuls, Crested Pigeons, a Common Koel or two, Grey Butcherbirds, Olive-backed Orioles, Silvereyes, Figbirds & Pallid Cuckoos.  Masked Lapwings fly over-head on their way to the river.  Even a couple of Spotted Pardalotes have moved in.  This is amazing as they live in areas with many Eucalypts, not Sydney’s Inner West.

small part of a large flock of Cockatoos who visited

Large groups of Cockatoos fly over most days & when the nuts & fruit are ripe, they descend on mass devouring them.  It’s a gorgeous sight & they are very noisy.  The powerlines can be covered with white birds all with something to say.  Both neighbours who grow the food the Cockatoos like to eat do not mind the invasion of these birds.

We still have the Pied Currawongs & Common Mynas, but they are not so destructive now they are out numbered.  The Common Mynas tried to get everyone to move, but the sheer numbers of birds had their power reduced to almost nil.  They now just get on with living.  We also have native bees & a Ring-Tailed Possum or two.

From a reasonably quiet area in terms of birds, our neighbourhood has become filled with bird song & bird activity.   I love the change.  It seems somehow more like I remember things used to be when I was a child & the presence of birds was taken for granted.

The Australian Museum has a wonderful web-site called Birds in Backyards. They list 40 birds & provide a fact-sheet & a short sound-bite of each bird call.  It is a wonderful reference for school children as well as people like me who don’t know much about birds.  Through this site I have been able to identify 20 of the 40 birds listed that I can hear & many times see from our own back garden.

Birds provide white noise that is soothing & helps block out traffic & other noises that can lead to stress.  They also help you in the garden by eating the insects that eat your plants.


If you want to attract birds into your garden & neighbourhood, all you need to do is plant a variety of bird-attracting Australian native plants & provide a source of water.  The water is best placed near other plants as this gives the birds a sense of safety.  They will use a birdbath in the middle of a lawn, but if there is another in a better location, they will use that one first.

Our birdbath needs filling often & sometimes daily during hot weather.  A wide range of birds use it to drink & bathe at many times during the day.  Sometimes there is a line up.  The larger birds go first with the smaller birds in surrounding trees watching & waiting for them to finish.  At night, much to my delight, the bats use it. I haven’t managed to see them yet, but I hear the “woop, woop, woop “as they take off vertically.

If you can, plan to plant a range of plants of different heights & thicknesses.  Some birds love to go into small shrubs & eat the nectar from flowers & insects while hidden from sight.   Others are not afraid to sip nectar from flowers high up & in open view.  A range of plants will ensure a variety of birds visit.

Cockatoo eating something from my neighbours garden

Native grasses offer a great source of food as well.  I have seen them used in very creative ways by my neighbours.  Most Australian Natives do not require much water once established & thrive in poor quality soil, though they do appreciate mulch & regular fertilizing with a Native fertilizer.

Native plants can be used successfully with a cottage garden if that is your preferred look.  Many are prolific flowerers & some have flowers all year round.  Most respond to pruning allowing them to be kept in a shape you like. Pruning encourages more flowers & bushiness.

From being a person who preferred cottage gardens I have become someone who would rather plant something that gives food to another.  I do think the long drought we had stressed the wild birds & animals, as their water sources shrunk & their food sources didn’t flower or simply died.  The Ibis who have decided to stay in Sydney are an example of this.  Even though it’s raining torrents in Sydney & parts of NSW have flooded, the drought is not over by a long shot.  16 areas or boundaries in NSW (a little over half the state) are classified Exceptional Circumstances. This is done when drought is regarded as severe.

As a number of people have indicated they want ideas for native shrubs & trees, I’ll do some research & put together a list soon.  It will be good learning for me as I am not an expert in this area either.


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.

Marrickville Council spent $17 million to create this beautiful green oasis & the RTA want to destroy it by putting in a 4 lane arterial road over the top of it

Community group Tempe 2010 is holding a peaceful protest walk against the RTA’s ‘road to nowhere’ to help save the Tempe Wetlands, Tempe Reserve & the Cooks River.  SoT is also very concerned about the resulting loss of many trees if this project goes ahead.  The walk starts at the park on South Street Tempe & finishes behind the Newtown Jets in Tempe Reserve where the RTA is holding a community information day until 2pm.

  • tomorrow Saturday 20th February 2010
  • @ 11 am

Plenty of time to participate in this event before attending ‘Sustainability Street by Street’ which is to be launched in Marrickville. 

The goal of the project is to show how to make a street more people-friendly & pleasant while improving water management & green space. The Project is about working together on a local street level to reduce & slow polluted storm water from rushing down to the Cooks River when it rains. The Project looks at ways of using the storm water to water gardens, how communal & shared gardens could be developed, how pavement space could be turned into native gardens or food gardens.

Come & listen to a presentation by Libby Gallagher, who co-presented the ‘Proposition Marrickville’ at the Re-Inventing out Streets Conversation which caused quite a stir in July Last year.  Richard McManus from Equatica will present a session on WSUD at both a street & property level.   See Wiki Web-site for more information:

  • tomorrow Saturday 20th February 2010 @ 1-4 pm
  • Marrickville West Public School Library
  • RSVP – Catriona 
ph: 9559 3660
 or 0435 021 449

Then there will be the Project Launch with stalls providing advice on worm farming, rainwater tanks etc & gauging interest in sharing gardens, pavement gardens (veggie verges) & more.

  • Saturday 6th March 2010 @ 1 pm
  • Louisa Lawson Reserve, Harnett Ave Marrickville
  • RSVP – Catriona 
ph: 9559 3660
 or 0435 021 449

Three days later the Cooks River Valley Association, Wolli Creek Preservation Society & City of Canterbury City Library present Professor Heather Goodall speaking about her recent book Rivers & Resilience, the story of the Aboriginal people who have used (& continue to use) the Georges River area as home & hideout from the time of European settlement until the present day.  This fascinating account also provides insights & glimpses into the Aboriginal history of the Cooks River valley & Wolli Creek.  There will be a display of archival photographs & maps.

  • Tuesday 9th March  @ 6 pm
  • Campsie Library – Amy Street, Campsie (ground level of Campsie Centre)

residents gathering in the rain today to protest the RTA plans for Tempe Wetlands, Tempe Reserve & Cooks River

We have just come back from a rocking community protest meeting where 100-150 people turned up in the rain & squished around the muddy grass (well it is a wetland) to hear speakers address the crowd about the RTA’s plan to put a 4 lane major arterial road to nowhere over the Cooks River, across Tempe Reserve & over Tempe Wetlands.  For so many people to come during such wet weather shows the RTA what sort of opposition they face from the residents of Marrickville LGA.  I spoke to a number of people who came from across the LGA proving this is an issue for all of us, not just the pocket of locals in Tempe.  Great to see.

I have been given a lot to read about the RTA’s plan so will post about this when I am done.  Saving Our Trees is greatly concerned about the trees (some of them very old) that will be lost or greatly affected if this ‘road to nowhere’ goes ahead & the preservation of these wildlife corridors.  It was great to see many of our councillors from all political groupings in attendance.  We arrived late so missed Mayor Sam Iskandar’s speech.  More about this issue later.

Now to the issue of the trees on NSW State Rail land at the bottom of Edgar Street, Tempe.

Tempe trees at risk by digging work by NSW State Rail - there are many more large trees behind these trees in this stretch of land

A woman at today’s protest told me that she thinks proposed works by State Rail will place all the trees along the railway line there in danger.  Apparently they intend to excavate close to these trees.  I will see if I can gather some information about this.  I went to see the trees.  They are formidable & many look to be quite old.  It would be a real shame to lose them.  I also discovered a small grove of trees in a gully next to the railway line, which appears to be left untouched for years & is a great haven for wildlife.  This is precisely what

small urban forest on NSW State Rail land in Tempe

I would like State Rail to do with all its parcels of land along rail tracks.  See an earlier post – I will see what information I can find about this issue.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Voren, a local resident which included a bunch of photos of mutilated street trees on Riverside Crescent Dulwich Hill.  These photos are a perfect example of how the streetscape can be ruined by pruning for electricity cables.  I was extremely happy to receive these & welcome any photos or addresses of public trees you think is worth the attention of SoT.  My e-mail address can be found on the About me page.

Voren's photos of the street trees in Riverside Crescent Dulwich Hill

On 26th January 2010 the Cumberland Courier ran another street tree article titled Tears for mutilated trees.  This time the residents of Lalor Park were distressed at the state Integral Energy left their 50-year-old street trees after pruning for overhead wires.  Terms such as “hacked,” “massacred,” “mutilated” & “butchered” were used to describe the aftermath.

Back in October 2009 Blacktown City Council put Integral Energy on notice about their pruning practices after they had pruned the trees in Riverstone & surrounding suburbs.

When they saw what happened to the street trees in Lalor Park, Blacktown Council stepped in & suspended Integral Energy’s powerline clearance pruning work.

Integral Energy apologised & now has to work under the supervision of Blacktown Council, review their tree pruning practices & fulfil a range of other requirements.

Hallelujah!  Finally a municipal council stepping in to ensure the street trees are not mutilated to the point where it is questionable whether they will survive, where the streetscape is marred for many years, where once beautiful trees are ruined forever & where people have to lose an essential part of what makes a street a desirable place to live as well as the negative impact on property values.  It may be that a council has stepped in before, but apart from Mosman Council doing so many years ago, I am unaware of this.

There is more of this tree on the ground than what is left on the tree

The Lalor Park residents say they no longer have shade on the street or footpath.  I can attest to that as my own street lost the shade from the street trees after recent pruning by Energy Australia.  When the sun is overhead we now have the long shadow of the electricity & pay TV cables instead of shade from street trees.  Frankly it looks weird & of course it is hot.

You can’t stand under a street tree having a chat to your neighbours anymore.  You have to look for shade & move to it, either on private property or walk across the road where the street trees were only slightly pruned.  This apparently small thing will have an impact on community relations over time.

This is a great article from the Cumberland Courier with much more information than I have reported.  You can read it by clicking on the following link – I thank the Cumberland Courier as they have been reporting on trees frequently of late.

Friends of the Urban Forest in San Francisco USA recently posted a call for help on their web-site asking residents to alert them to public trees which have been illegally pruned.

Friends of the Urban Forest & the Bureau of Urban Forestry (don’t you love these names) have planted 10,928 new street trees in San Francisco since 2003.

About street trees they say, “The small, younger trees currently provide very little environmental benefit…” meaning that if older more mature trees are removed due to heavy pruning which weakens them or makes them way too ugly, then replacing them is not as good as a solution as it seems on the surface.  Personally I am worried that in our LGA we will reach the stage where we will have more young trees with thin trunks than we will have older trees.

Older trees sequester greater amounts of CO2, filter more particulate matter & other pollutants (though you need leaves to do this & there are plenty of trees with thick trunks, but with relatively few branches & leaves after pruning in Marrickville LGA), produce larger amounts of oxygen & collects more storm water runoff than does a tree with a thin trunk.

We can already see in some areas of our LGA that the skyline has few tall trees.  I think it is a shame that we can count the trees visible along the skyline.  This is not the case in many other suburbs of Sydney metropolitan area where the overall look & feel is green because their canopy is substantial.

We need to keep as many of the large stature street trees as we are able & our young trees need to be given a chance to grow up because it is then they provide the most benefit.  Severe pruning clearly demonstrated in Voren’s photographs not only makes the tree ugly & negatively impacts the streetscape & our lives, but also weakens the tree making it more susceptible to disease.  A weakened & diseased tree will be more likely to fall in a storm or some other event that places pressure upon it.

I do understand that street trees need to be pruned for the passage of overhead wires & I have never advocated that this should be stopped.  I do believe however that our electricity companies can do a much better job of pruning & Blacktown Council’s intervention has proved this.

The article by Friends of the Urban Forest is interesting reading & describes the impact of over pruning & topping.  They also have some fantastic photographs of trees that have been severely mutilated.  You can access this via the following link –

Tempe Wetlands - how will the RTA put a major arterial road over this without destroying it?

On a final note, a local community group called Tempe 2010 is holding a rally on Saturday 6th February at 11am meeting in South Street (between Hart & Fanning Streets) Tempe.  They are opposing the building of a new arterial road that is to go over the Cooks River, across the newly renovated Tempe Reserve & over the top of the lovely Tempe Wetlands ending at a t-section at Sydney Park.

SoT is interested not only because of the obvious factors of more roads, traffic, noise & pollution, but also because the Tempe Reserve is likely to be grossly affected & the damage to the wetlands is a real concern.  There is also the question of how many trees will need to be removed to build this new road.

All the details as well as how to access information from the RTA about this project & to connect with Tempe 2010 can be accessed via the Marrickville Greens web-site

The Greens have been in the Inner West Courier about this issue recently & have stated they are against this project as it stands.  I hope the other councillors look into the impact of the new arterial road & decide to publicly oppose it if it is indeed as environmentally destructive as it seems to be.  I say ‘seems’ because I haven’t looked into the literature as yet.

We cannot keep building cities for cars instead of people.  Four vulnerable assets; the Cooks River, Tempe Reserve, the many old park trees & the Tempe Wetlands need to be fought for & protected by both Marrickville Council & the community if this project negatively impacts on these.  One visit to these areas will show you just how much work Marrickville Council & community groups have put into improving all these sites over the years.  I think this is a worthwhile event to attend & find out what we need to know to make an informed decision.  It is also good to support a community group who is working to save quite significant assets for our benefit & for future generations.  J



© Copyright

Using and copying text and photographs is not permitted without my permission.

Blog Stats

  • 711,037 hits
%d bloggers like this: