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The new Winged Victory

The new Winged Victory

A wider view of Winged Victory

A wider view of Winged Victory

A back view of Winged Victory

A back view of Winged Victory

I’ve waited a suitable time before I posted about the Marrickville Town Hall upgrade in deference to those who lost their lives in the wars. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the Marrickville Remembers March to mark the centenary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli on 19th April 2015, but I am told it was a great success. During this event the new Winged Victory statue was unveiled, plus the refurbished forecourt & War Memorial.

I think the new Winged Victory is wonderful & it is great to have a statue back in this location. It is also great to see the War Memorial looking cared for, as it should be considering the 457 Marrickville soldiers who died during World War 1.

Over the last few years, people have written to ask me to take photos of their family member’s name on the War Memorial. Now that the soldiers’ names have been filled with gold & the War Memorial has been refurbished, I am happy to do this again. Contact me – Jacqueline savingourtrees@gmail.com

As for the $500,000 upgrade of the Town Hall Forecourt, it is exactly as I envisaged & not to my liking at all.  I find it hard, grey & cold.  It will be miserable in winter & hot in summer.  I also miss the trees & the sound of birds, which is to be expected.  Time will tell whether the community love these works or it is considered as bad as the upgrade of Alex Trevillion Plaza further down Marrickville Road.

The $75,000 plans for the Marrickville Town Hall Forecourt upgrade had the objective “….to create an austere response.”  They achieved their objective.  See what you think.

Plaque on the Marrickville War Memorial

Plaque on the Marrickville War Memorial

The repaired Marrickville War memorial

The repaired Marrickville War memorial.  Very nice to see wreaths & gold lettering.

Not so nice to see flooding around the War Memorial.  This is brand new work & it should not be retaining water.

Not so nice to see flooding around the War Memorial. This is brand new work & it should not be retaining water.

More retained water on the other side of the Marrickville War memorial

More retained water on the other side of the Marrickville War memorial.

Looking across the Marrickville War memorial towards St Clement's Church

Looking across the Marrickville War Memorial towards St Clement’s Church.

Looking at the Marrickville War Memorial from Petersham Road.

Looking at the Marrickville War Memorial from Petersham Road.

Brass rails from the Petersham Road side

Brass rails from the Petersham Road side

The landscaping.

The landscaping.

Looking across the Marrickville Town Hall forecourt.  Note the car blocking the disabled entry to the Town Hall.

Looking across the Marrickville Town Hall forecourt down Marrickville Road & showing the Magnolia tree.  .Note the car blocking the disabled entry into the Town Hall.  

Seating & landscaping around the Magnolia tree.

Seating & landscaping around the Magnolia tree.

A long view of the Marrickville Town Hall forecourt.  Find the tree.

A long view of the Marrickville Town Hall forecourt.

The side of Marrickville Town Hall denuded of trees.

The side of Marrickville Town Hall denuded of trees.

 

View from the Town Hall Steps.

View from the Town Hall Steps.

Marrickville Town Hall.

Marrickville Town Hall.  Every bit of green in this image will be removed.  The lime green Cypress pines on the right have already been removed.

 


 

The Marrickville Town Hall Forecourt upgrade has the following objective in the plans –

“….to create an austere response.” 

 


 

Austere is an adjective that means the following –

  • Severe or strict in manner or attitude.
  • “He was an austere man with a rigidly puritanical outlook.”
  • “He was a conscientious & outwardly austere man (of living conditions or a way of life) having no comforts or luxuries.”
  • “Conditions in the prison could hardly be more austere.”

Synonyms –

Severe, stern, strict, harsh, unfeeling, stony, steely, flinty, dour, grim, cold, frosty, frigid, icy, chilly, unemotional, unfriendly, formal, stiff, stuffy, reserved, remote, distant, aloof, forbidding, grave, solemn, serious, unsmiling, unsympathetic, unforgiving, uncharitable, morehard, rigorous, stringent, unyielding, unbending, unrelenting, inflexible, illiberal, no-nonsense.


It was good to get confirmation that my response to the planned Marrickville Town Hall Forecourt upgrade was correct & in line with the design vision of Marrickville Council.  The words I used in previous posts were – “harsh, ugly & hot.”

So far two Golden Cypress trees have been removed.  Another Pine tree close to the War Memorial is also to be removed.  Council plans to remove the Pencil Pines & other trees around the building.   First to go in Stage One will be four tall Pencil pines at the right-hand corner.

Council plans to plant a “Magnolia or similar” (native to Asia & North America)on the left side of the Forecourt with an access ramp curving around the tree.  While Magnolia trees are especially pretty when in flower, they are deciduous & also drop large fleshy petals after flowering.  Personally, I think fallen leaves & large fleshy petals may pose a problem for people with mobility issues.

Six “Chinese Poplar or similar” trees (native to China) are planned as street trees along Petersham Road.

The planting in existing garden beds is “to be replaced with more appropriate species.”   This must have changed from the original plan from April 2014 & also at the community consultation than had –

  • Star Jasmine (native to E & SE Asia) as a ground cover,
  • hedges of Box Hedge (native to either England, Holland, Japan or Korea depending on the species used),
  • Indian Hawthorn (native to Southern China) &
  • Viburnum suspensum (native to Japan).

The Development Application has been submitted & will be on the agenda for the Council Meeting of 15th July 2014 as a report to Councillors.

I received notification late yesterday afternoon, 11th July 2014 because I had attended the earlier community consultation event.

The community has only 7 working days to get in a submission to Marrickville Council.  The due date is Tuesday 22nd July 2014.   Submissions are to be addressed to The General Manager, Marrickville Council – council@marrickville.nsw.gov.au

The plans & more information can be found at the following link – www.yoursaymarrickville.com.au/marrickville-town-hall-forecourt-upgrade/

The new 'Winged Victory'  design.  I used a crop of a photo by Marrickville Council with thanks.

The new ‘Winged Victory’ design.  This is a crop of a photo by Marrickville Council used with thanks.

Lastly, a panel of Marrickville Council staff chose the design of the new ‘Winged Victory’ statue with the winner endorsed by the Councillors. I find it surprising that there was no community consultation to decide the winning design of such an important statue that the Mayor in a recent press release called, “…. a much loved Marrickville icon…..has much meaning & is loved by most of the community.”    You would think something as important as the replacement ‘Winged Victory,’ who stands on the pedestal at the Marrickville War Memorial would have included the community.   Marrickville Council asked the community to choose one of three designs for the bridge over the Cooks River at the Marrickville Golf Course.   Is the design of ‘Winged Victory’ – a Marrickville icon, not as important as a pedestrian bridge over the river?

Looking past the War Memorial to Marrickville Town Hall

Looking past the War Memorial to Marrickville Town Hall

Looking across the War Memorial to Petersham Road.

Looking across the War Memorial to Petersham Road.

Marrickville Town Hall. Photo taken 2011. The units on the right have been completed.

Marrickville Town Hall. Photo taken 2011. The units on the right have been completed. The two trees on the right have already been chopped down & all the other trees in this photo all also be removed.

Marrickville Town Hall.

Marrickville Town Hall a couple of weeks ago.

Petersham Town Hall.  These trees create a positive impact as you travel down Crystal Street.   Why would the trees need to be removed at Marrickville Town Hall & not here.  They are the same species.

Petersham Town Hall. These trees create a positive impact as you travel down Crystal Street. Why would the trees need to be removed at Marrickville Town Hall & not here?  They are the same species & they create the same effect of beautifying both Town Halls.

On 7th June I posted about a community consultation event on 12th June about the proposed upgrade to the Marrickville Town Hall Forecourt.  See – http://bit.ly/SkNRWh. I decided to attend because I wanted to hear firsthand why healthy trees are to be removed.

It was with some surprise that I found out that I was not required to give any written feedback & that the plans were considerably different to those previously put before the Councillors for a vote.  When I asked about this staff told me that the plans for a $575,000 upgrade on which the Councillors voted on 15th April 2014, “were just a guide & these are the plans now.” I was quite confused as to why Councillors would have approved a design that was not to be used at a cost close to six hundred thousand dollars.  I had read the Council papers & nowhere did I see that the then diagrams were not the design.

So instead of community consultation to give feedback on a design that was voted on nine weeks previously, any attending community were to be shown a new design & from that give verbal feedback to staff.

Marrickville Council posted the new design on their website on 20th June. See _ http://bit.ly/1jGJ74T

The new plans will remove the three conifers around the War Memorial & the four large conifers at the front right side corner of the Town Hall building.  The remaining trees alongside the Town Hall building will be removed at a later unspecified date.

To the left of the Town Hall steps, Council plans to plant a small stature Magnolia tree.  This may not happen as a ramp entrance is planned to curve up to the steps in this place & there may not be room for a tree.

On the Petersham Road side, six Poplars that reach 12-metres at maturity will be planted as street trees. These trees are columnar in shape.  Both the Magnolia & the Poplars are deciduous tree species.

The plans for the garden bed planting have not changed.  It remains Indian Hawthorn as a hedge, Box hedge & Chinese Jasmine as a ground cover.  Council believes that the building should be highly visible & it will be, especially in the cooler months, when the trees have no leaves.

Granite paving at approximately $200 per square metre – “comparable to concrete” – will be laid in the forecourt area, as well as along the Petersham Road parking area & footpath.  The bus shelter will be moved closer to the Fire Station located on the left.  There will be eight bench seats located near & around the War Memorial.  Thankfully, Council will install a line of bollards to prevent the forecourt being used as a car park.  Delivery trucks will still be able to use the forecourt.

A new Winged Victory statue will be made – an “interpretation” of the old one.  It will be wonderful to have what was one of the special & lovely aspects of the Marrickville Town Hall Forecourt returned.  It has been years since she was removed to languish in Council’s depot yard.  The original Winged Victory is to be displayed in the Australian War Museum in Canberra.

A media release from Council said that Meridian, a fine art foundry will manufacture a new Winged Victory that has been designed by Peter Corlett. “The interpretation will be cast to the same dimensions & will be in a similar form & spirit. In the new interpretation the sword has been lowered in a gesture of peace.”

While I think that these ‘real’ plans are an improvement on what was approved by the Councillors in April 2014, I personally don’t think it will make the forecourt a great place to be.  This is because I have a preference for trees & believe they enhance buildings & public spaces, while Council believes that trees will detract from the building.

I did speak about the area outside the HUB at Newtown.  I think this is an example of successful placemaking.  There are four large canopy broadleaf trees there that provide lovely dappled shade.  Those trees make that area pretty in my opinion.  People go there to go to the markets or grab lunch to eat on the steps or simply meet friends. I believe that it is the shade provided by the trees that makes it a popular meeting place.  The grassed area on the right of the HUB is almost always empty of people as there is no shade.

The Marrickville Town Hall Forecourt is already a hot place & will be hotter without adequate shade.  When the 2012 International Women’s Day event was held there, Council’s own photos posted on Facebook, showed the attendees clustered under the shade of the one available tree.  Without any trees or just one Magnolia next to a ramp, the forecourt will continue to be a hot place.  I think it will look harsh as well, but this is personal opinion.

If Council chooses dark-coloured granite to pave the forecourt, it will most definitely add to the local urban heat island effect.  Recently the media published many articles on the urban heat island effect & the need to change the culture of dark roofs & bitumen roads in order to get a modicum of control over the heat in Australia.  Dark colours are seen as a wrong choice given the changes in our climate.   Add the fact that there will be no shade trees & you have a hot place where people will have no protection from particulate matter from the increasingly heavy traffic.  Is this a problem?  I think so.

I was also told that this design would go to a DA process & it was only then that the community could put in submissions.  I was assured that trees would not be removed until this process was completed.

Therefore last Monday afternoon when I took a researcher visiting from England to see the Town Hall, I was shocked to see that the two smaller conifers next to the War Memorial had already been chopped down.  The community consultation event was only held on the previous Thursday afternoon/early evening.

Many in the community won’t be concerned one way or another about the loss of the trees, but I care.  I fear for the thousands of birds that live in the trees alongside the building.  I rue the loss of more trees, especially trees that are healthy, have a historical context & not causing damage to infrastructure.   There is more than enough room on this wide footpath to plant six Poplars & keep the other trees.  However, I have been doing SoT for long enough to know that Council will go ahead with their plans. The quick as lightning start to remove trees indicates Council’s decisions do not necessarily take community comments into account and may already be finalised.  I hope the evicted wildlife manage to survive & I hope that the Forecourt & Petersham Road side does become an attractive place where people love to gather.

I have a legitimate interest in wanting where I live to look good.   Increasingly, as I go around, my memories are sad ones as much that is beautiful is being lost for one reason or another.  This is progress.

The War Memorial as it looks now after the trees have been removed.

The War Memorial as it looks now after the trees have been removed.  The tree on the left will be chopped down soon.  I fail to see how granite paving will improve this view.

This is the only tree that provided shade.  It is to be removed as well.

This is the only tree that provided shade. It is to be removed as well.

 

Marrickville Town Hall. Photo taken 2011. The units on the right have been completed.

Marrickville Town Hall. Photo taken 2011. The units on the right have been completed.

Removal of these trees is a negative impact on the outlook of the Town Hall in my opinion.

Removal of these trees is a negative impact on the outlook of the Town Hall in my opinion.

Clr Phillips first brought the refurbishment of Marrickville Town Hall to Council in July 2011 as a Notice of Motion. See – http://bit.ly/1fmiFLL   A refurbishment plan was brought to the Council Meeting in November 2011. See – http://bit.ly/1jGIkkQ

The refurbishment was again on the agenda at last Tuesday’s Council meeting, 15th April 2014.

Mayor Haylen & Clrs Phillips, Leary & Iskandar were absent, so it was a 2:2:2:2 vote – 2 Labour, 2 Liberals, 2 Independents & 2 Greens who voted to remove all of the trees in the front & all but one tree along the Petersham Road side of Marrickville Town Hall.   Not surprising to me, but at the same time, quite distressing.

In November 2011 I wrote, ALL the trees will be removed & 3 ‘suitable’ street trees will be planted as replacements along the side of the Town Hall.  My guess these will probably be Ornamental Cherry trees to match what has been planted on both sides of Marrickville Road to the corner of Livingstone Road.  They are cheap to buy & absolutely useless to wildlife. 

The current trees along the exterior wall of the Town Hall building are 7 mature Pencil pines, 2 mature Cocas palms & 2 small Cocas palms & 1 mature Norfolk Island palm.  These trees, especially the Pencil pines, add to the grandness of the building & considerably soften the façade.

At dusk take a seat outside the library & listen. Literally thousands of small birds live in these trees & the sound of them settling down for the night is wonderful.  I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t like it.  Remove these trees & there will be an environmental impact, though I don’t know whether this has been taken into account in the environmental impact assessment. Certainly Council doesn’t care.

There are 2 mature, but small stature Pine trees in the front forecourt connected to the War Memorial & one 5-6 metre Pine tree in a planter box.  One of these Pines leans towards the pedestrian footpath, but doesn’t block pedestrian thoroughfare.  

This is a total of 15 trees to be removed & the replacement with 3 as yet unspecified species.  You can bet any money that these will be small stature trees that will not obscure the view of the building & probably deciduous.  The community will be left with a sterile box. A grand box, but sterile none-the-less.”

So what has changed 3-years later?   According to the business paper, arrangements are presently underway for a new Winged Victory statue to be made & placed on the war memorial column at the front of the Town Hall.”   Winged Victory herself was donated to the Australian War Memorial in late 2013.   Personally, I would have liked Winged Victory to be on permanent display inside the new Marrickville Library, especially as the ceiling of the building is so high & the front is to be mostly glass. She would have been spectacular in a safe place inside the entrance foyer & visible from the street. C’est la vie.

Winged Victory when it was at the War Memorial outside Marrickville Town Hall.  Now she is going to Canberra.

Winged Victory when it was at the War Memorial outside Marrickville Town Hall. Now she is going to Canberra.

A media release dated 22nd April 2014 says Marrickville Council will hold “an information session & presentation to update local residents & citizens on the future of the Winged Victory statue.”  

This is to be held on Thursday 1st May 2014, 6pm – 7pm at the Function Room 3, Council’s Administration Centre, 2-14 Fisher Street Petersham.

 

Stage 1 of the refurbishment of the Town Hall will cost $75,000 for the design & $500,000 for the works, which are –

  1. Repaving the forecourt – Matching paving will also be installed in front of the car park behind the Library, at the Library entrance & in the two car spaces, all located at the Petersham Road side of the Town Hall building. [The Petersham Road side already has ornamental brick paving].
  1. Furniture, including new seating. [I cannot find any furniture other than 8 new bench seats in the plans.]
  1. Relocating the bus stop to “improve sight lines.”
  1. Refurbishment of the War Memorial column & re-gilding of the honour roll names. [Great.  This is an important war memorial to many.]
  1. Landscaping comprised of –

–      Star Jasmine (native to E & SE Asia)to be used as a ground cover.

–      Hedges of Box Hedge (native to either England, Holland, Japan or Korea depending on the species used), Indian Hawthorn (native to Southern China) & Viburnum suspensum (native to Japan). [This combination of Indian Hawthorn, Box & Star Jasmine is already being used as the main landscaping feature.]

–      Two Tibouchina trees (native to SE Brazil) are planned for the back wall of the car park at the rear.

Can Council not use Australian native plants?

  1. And lastly removal of the “old conifers” – [that is to remove 13 mature trees]. One Phoenix palm will be retained. Another Phoenix palm will be transplanted to match the other. One tree fern will also be retained.
The plants in the garden will be the same as shown, but this Camelia will be removed.

The plants in the garden will be the same as shown, but this Camelia will be removed.

In 2011 Council planned to plant 3 street trees alongside the Library side on Petersham Road. The current plans have upped this to 6 street trees. There is no mention of what species the trees will be.

Two Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ conifers will be planted beside the War Memorial. These ultra-slow-growing conifers grow to around 3-metres tall with a 1.5-metre base in a tear drop shape.  I personally think Conifers are important trees to have around a War Memorial because of their deep symbolism.  However, two slender 3-metre conifers will not make much of a green impact for either the memorial or the forecourt.  There will be no shade.

While I have long considered the forecourt of the Town Hall to be an ugly mess, I cannot believe that part of the answer towards improvement is to remove the trees.

None of the trees growing beside the walls of the Town Hall touch the building. Neither have they created any visible damage to the building in the decades that they have been there.

This area will also be paved as well as in front of the car park.

This area will also be repaved as well as in front of the car park.

Only one tree causes a problem & that is the small conifer beside the War Memorial & next to the footpath. This tree leans towards the footpath, which although very wide in this section, is starting to be an obstruction. Pruning this tree is a simple job & will remove any obstruction.

I can see no reason other than someone with design powers has a personal preference to get rid of the trees.  One should ask whether this is a good enough reason to remove trees & habitat in these days of global warming, especially as the main feature of the refurbishment will be hard cold paving that will be used as an unofficial car park anyway. The proposed removal of the bollards will further assist car parking.

It is important to note that all work for the Petersham Road side of the Town Hall building is Stage 2 & is “subject to further allocations of funds, should Council decide.” In other words, the trees will be removed & we may wait years for the paving & ground level landscaping.  Since the community has waited years for work to be done on this important war memorial & for Winged Victory to be returned on two occasions, it is not unfair or unrealistic to think this may take a long time to eventuate or not happen at all.

Without funds being immediately available for the whole project, this may end up being like the avenue of trees from Sydenham Station along Marrickville Road to the Marrickville shopping strip that was promised by a Council vote in 2010, but still remains invisible.

Two Tibouchina trees will be planted at the back wall

Two Tibouchina trees will be planted at the back wall

To me this design will pretty up the floor of the site, while removing all the beauty & importantly, habitat. What will happen to the thousands of birds that sleep in these trees? They will have to go somewhere else, to fight out to the death over territories.

Biodiversity is a word Council uses that is cool when they want to do something good for the environment & to be fair, they have done very good things. However, one does not improve biodiversity by removing habitat & replacing it with paving & low hedges.

The only way the tree removal can be stopped is through a rescission motion.

Here is a short video I made of the Town Hall forecourt in 2011.  Nothing has changed, including the empty garden beds. See – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFbCp6o0gs8

The red line shows how the tree can be pruned & return space to the footpath, instead of Council's choice to remove the tree.

The red line shows how the tree can be pruned & return space to the footpath, instead of Council’s choice to remove the tree.

Unofficial car park.  I counted 13 cars, & there were more parked on the footpath beside the building on Petersham Road.

Unofficial car park. I counted 13 cars, & there were more parked on the footpath beside the building on Petersham Road.  How much will it cost to pave this?

Unofficial car park.  Bollards will be removed offering more space.

Unofficial car park. Bollards will be removed offering more space.  

All these trees to go, except one Phoenix Palm.  None of the trees touch or have created visible damage to the building.

All these trees to go, except one Phoenix Palm. None of the trees touch or have created visible damage to the building.

 

Winged Victory when it was at the War Memorial outside Marrickville Town Hall.

Winged Victory when it was at the War Memorial outside Marrickville Town Hall.

This was the Council Meeting.  Absent: Clrs Tsardoulias, Hanna & Leary.   Note: MC = Marrickville Council.

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.

Last night’s Marrickville Council Meeting had some interesting items.  I did not attend.  The information below comes form the papers for the meeting & getting feedback about the votes.

Mayoral Minute – Save our streetscape amenity  – by Mayor Macri.  In brief: “In 2009, Council tree maintenance staff expressed concerns about the work health & safety of doing pruning work near over head electrical wires.”  The work was outsourced to Ausgrid & later, also in 2009, MC outsourced its tree maintenance work.  A resident alerted MC “that trees were being decimated along Federation Street Camperdown along the boundary of Camperdown Memorial Park.”  MC’s Tree Management Team assessed the work & found the pruning to be extreme & requested the Ausgrid contrator to cease work.  The Council Officer thought the pruning excessive, but within Ausgrid’s pruning standards.

The Mayoral Minute suggests an option to avoid this happening in the future is for MC to pay for Aerial Bundled Cabling to be installed in several key locations across Marrickville LGA “where valuable mature significant trees are being continually lopped.”

The vote was unanimous (Mayor Macri, Clrs Iskandar, Halen Woods, Phillips, Brooks, Ellsmore, Gardener & Tyler) for Council to write to Ausgrid seeking Aerial Bundled Cabling to minimize the adverse impact of pruning on trees & “confirmation that pruning by contractors be undertaken within acceptable standards that properly accounted for the potential adverse impacts of overpruning.”

[Well hooray!   I applaud the Mayor for this motion.  Let’s hope the Hill’s Fig trees on Carrington Road Marrickville that already have Aerial Bundled Cabling installed are left alone.  Their decline was rapid with most of the trees losing a full side.   I would like MC to ask if it is really necessary for Ausgrid to come every 6-months to prune trees as one of their contractors told me was the new way of doing business.  Before they took over from Energy Australia it was a 6-7 year pruning cycle.]

Winged Victory Statue – The vote was unanimous (Mayor Macri, Clrs Iskandar, Halen Woods, Phillips, Brooks, Ellsmore, Gardener & Tyler) for MC to retain the original Winged Victory statue created in 1919 & keep it in storage until funding becomes available, plus a suitable location for it to be displayed.  MC will call for an expression of interest for a replica to be made.   [Many people & some community groups have suggested that it should be on permanent display in the new Marrickville Library, which I think is a great choice.  The community will be able to see the much loved Winged Victory in this prime location & importantly it will be safe from thieves.  Many years ago one of the stone towers in Richardsons Reserve was stolen & has never been recovered, so thieves are not intimidated by the size of the object.]

Notice of Motion – Remove street tree at 16 Temple Street Stanmore – Clr Tasdoulias put up this Motion.  In December 2012 Councillors voted to give this Lemon Scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora) a 12-month reprieve to observe the tree.  See –  http://bit.ly/TICPY1  Two small branches – under 50mm at the point of detachment fell in February 2013.  A Brushbox tree,  plus verge garden was proposed as a replacement.  Vote to remove the tree – Mayor Macri, Clrs Iskandar, Haylen Woods, Gardener & Tyler.  Vote to retain the tree – Clrs Phillips, Brooks & Ellsmore.  This tree will be chopped down.

Notice of Motion – Urgent protection for Fatima Island – put up by Clrs Ellsmore & Leary.  Fatima Island opposite Kendrick Park Tempe is the last remaining island in the Cooks River. The island has important historical links & is the only area of safety & habitat for waterbirds.  In 2013 MC said they would include Fatima Island in the Cooks River Parks Plan of Management, not to be implemented this year.  However, erosion is destroying Fatima Island at a rapid rate.  Council staff responses in the business paper were not encouraging mentioning the need for consultants, an environmental assessment, costs, no legal requirement to look after Fatima Island as it is crown land, need for staff to be removed from existing operational priorities.  The vote was unanimous – Mayor Macri, Clrs Iskandar, Halen Woods, Phillips, Brooks, Ellsmore, Gardener & Tyler.  However, there was an amendment, of which I do not know the content.

Fatima Island at high tide last weekend. With the current rate of erosion, I doubt that this island will last long.

Fatima Island at high tide last weekend. With the current rate of erosion, I doubt that this island or its trees will last long.  To lose it would be dreadful, especially for the waterbirds.  It is an extremely important site for biodiversity.  Visible in this photo is one Egret & three Cormorants.  It is not unusual to see Darters, Pelicans, Ibis, Gulls, Masked Lapwings & ducks here.

 

View of the cracks in the Marrickville War Memorial

The statue ‘Winged Victory’ that stands on a pillar on the World War One Memorial outside Marrickville Town Hall was on the agenda at last week’s Council Meeting, 17th August 2010.

Winged Victory is a gorgeous statue that stands more than 4 metres tall & is the largest known bronze casting on a memorial in Australia.  Winged Victory is well loved by the people of Marrickville.  She was installed in 1919 & remained onsite until 1962 when she was removed for the next 26 years for restoration. She has remained onsite from 1982 until she was again removed from her pillar on 24th April 2009 because there were cracks developing which were seen as a potential danger to the public.  Winged Victory has since been assessed by a specialist conservator who said to repair her would likely be more expensive than having a bronze cast replica made.

Council recommended that a replica is made & Winged Victory be put in storage. Clr Olive wanted her displayed to which Clr Tsardoulias put up an amendment for the same.  Clr Marci said he thought the gold leaf on the names of fallen soldiers should be restored.  He also said the trees were destroying the footings of the War Memorial & Council should look at removing them.  Carried unanimously.

I went to have a look to see what kind of damage the trees were causing the War Memorial & frankly I would have to partially disagree with Clr Marci. I don’t think the trees have caused any significant damage, though I do think the memorial itself needs repairing & restoring the gold leaf to the names would be the right thing to do.

The whole site in front of Marrickville Town Hall is a place of great potential.  Right now it looks quite sad & is an under utilized space, especially in summer when the area is deadly hot.  The only time I am aware it being used is voting day. Generally, the space is used by pedestrians walking through, the odd person having a rest or groups of school children chatting & waiting for the bus.  One of the benches sits within 2 metres of the back of the bus stop. Not exactly making use of the view.

The area in front of Marrickville Town Hall is pebblecrete with a few Pines & plants along the walls of the Town Hall building. There are 3 planter boxes. One is empty, one has a 10 cm Pine growing & the other has a good-sized Pine growing in it.  This last tree has a crack in the pebblecrete at the base  of the planter box, but I don’t think this is an issue of safety. No one would walk there due to the shape of the tree.

The barren pebblecrete forecourt of Marrickville Town Hall is in dire need of some shade trees

2 smaller Pines are in purpose built cavities as part of the memorial itself.  The concrete between 2 sandstone blocks encasing one of the trees has disconnected from the 2 blocks, but this is simply a matter of re-cementing the 2 sandstone blocks together if deemed necessary.

The War Memorial itself is a series of steps in a flat pyramid shape.  Some of these steps have cracked along the joint for each level & 2 of the corners have damage.  This can also be repaired with a bit of cement.  One side does present a trip hazard, but does not seem at all related to the presence of trees.

The trees attached to the memorial are small with small trunks & they still fit nicely inside the cavities.  The damage to the memorial is higher than the base of the trees, so I doubt the roots would have caused it.

Marrickville War Memorial & 2 Pine trees

Council said last week they would look at the trees, not that they will be removing them.  I ask that Council do not decide to remove any of these trees, even the small Pine that leans. This tree is too small to hurt anyone & has probably grown in a lean because of the strong wind that comes down this corridor. There is ample room for pedestrians to pass so it does not need pruning.

Traditionally in Australia, Pine trees, especially the Aleppo Pine, have been planted at WW1 memorials because Pines trees were at Gallipoli.  Pine trees also symbolize life & immortality.  All but one of the trees outside Marrickville Town Hall are reasonably old & all but one are in good condition. I think it amazing that

Trees along the side of Marrickville Town Hall - home to thousands of small birds

they have survived considering the conditions they are planted in.

The tall Pines that flank the wall alongside & at the front of the Town Hall are home to at least 2,000 small birds. If you like birds, dusk is a great time to visit. Just sit on a bench & listen. The noise from the birds settling in for the night is fabulous. It’s an instant pick-me-up.

There has been new planting recently, but unfortunately many of the plants are dying for lack of water especially those to the right of the library door.

As I am writing this post, an e-mail arrived

Forecourt of Marrickville Town Hall- the arrow shows the bench - St Clements Anglican Church in the background

regarding questions I had asked earlier in the day about the trees. One of my colleagues reckons the pine trees there look a bit ragged, don’t provide shade & haven’t aged too well.

This is a problem when an area looks barren.  I think it is the environment that makes the trees look ragged.  All the trees except one outside the Library are healthy. The ‘ragged’ tree along side the Libary wall could do with a prune to allow it to rejuvenate.  It needn’t be cut down in my opinion, but if it were, it would be best to replant the same species.

I’d like to see this space be made more inviting. Marrickville Town Hall is a beautiful building inside & out  & is the entrance to Marrickville shopping strip from the western direction.  The trees that are there are lovely in my opinion, but there is loads of room for other shade trees to be planted.

Like the area outside the Hub in Newtown, the forecourt of Marrickville Town Hall could be made into a place that is inviting for the community to use.  Benches could be put around the trees encouraging

Another view of the forecourt outside Marrickville Town Hall

people to sit. As I mentioned, this area in summer is very hot & we need to start working on public areas that contribute to the Heat Island Effect. The pebblecrete would disappear visually if the eyes were drawn to large shady trees.

To finish on a good note, I noticed that Marrickville Council has recently planted around 16 new street trees on both sides of Marrickville Road near Marrickville Fire Station.  I hope the trees survive, as they will green up this section of Marrickville Road nicely.

I have many photos of Winged Victory & will post one if I can find it.

1919 photo of the opening of the Marrickville War Memorial that hangs in the Marrickville Fire Station

No disrespect intended - here is Elvis visiting the Marrickville War Memorial today

Street tree planting Marrickville Road

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