More court coming up & a fundraiser to look forward to 16.10.2010


The picture on the left was taken in a courtyard of the National Museum in Canberra on a hot summer’s day a year or so ago. It was a beautiful stand of funny little native trees (I presumed) all doing their own thing, bending here, there and everywhere while pretending to be the same.

It made me wish it were landscape architects who held the reins of power in Our Town rather than arborists – but maybe I’m being naive; perhaps the landscape architects are indeed  the ones coming up with water gums and other poor little forgettable eucalypts lining street after street, and putting in magnolia grandiflora where there should be Moreton Bay figs.

I read in the Tyrrell Street 2004 arborist report some suggestions for trees to replace the Hill’s figs that council destroyed there. The choices were just awful. Such tastelessness is how we ended up with tuckeroos there – tastelessness combined with neglect of the two species that died. I did read a comment by someone who likes the look of the street now, but it takes all kinds, I suppose.

There’s a lovely website about bird calls that I don’t think I’ve written about before. It’s called Birds in Backyards. I love it because it has the Top 40 bird songs and if you go to the site and click on a few of these (it tells you the size of the file) you’ll get a faint idea of what it’s like to stand in Laman Street under the fig tree canopy.

My favourites are the little wattlebird (no 8), the fig bird (no 40), and, of course, the kookaburras (no 13) which you can hear all the way across the park. I assume there are red wattle birds (no 14) because the call on the website sounds very familiar. And who couldn’t listen to a magpie (no 11) all day long? It’s the sound of a beautiful early summer morning.

The Hunter Bird Observers Club has a pamphlet that describes a birding route through Newcastle and the Lower Hunter. You can download it here.

There are a number of websites where you can download the sound of flying foxes as well, eg Sydney Bats (the audio file is 1.58MB). Microbats apparently don’t have an audible call and so to hear these you need a bat detector. Believe it or not, there’s at least one website about how to build a simple inexpensive one of these. (Doesn’t look simple to me, but you’ll probably get it). The recording of the bat call is at the bottom of the page and the size of the file is 64KB. It’s worth a listen.

The petitions to save the Laman Street figs at the time of writing have over 7500 signatures and the vigil keeps on keeping on. Stalwarts are in the street every night between 5pm and 7pm. Court reconvenes on Monday 18th so the end of the day in Laman Street will be the time and place to be to hear the news from the people going down to listen to the proceedings.

You can see an example of (almost) the sort of barbarism planned for Laman Street if you read about some sad tree losses in Goondiwindi. There have been some landmark trees for decades growing outside the hospital and some bright spark decided the trees were a security risk for staff – sounds like one of the arguments used about our Islington Park figs in the 70s: ‘perverts’ were said to be hiding behind them. To fix the security problem this is what was done to the trees. And in this article about them a comparison is made between how well Country energy pruned figs in comparison. It’s not often that energy companies win competitions like that.

I suspect Queensland Health had no idea how dreadful those trees would look after they finished with them – just like no one has any concept of how appalling our street will look if/when the bean counters have their way.

The spray from the fountain makes you watch your step

At least the destruction there has made the Goondiwindi council look carefully at other trees and how important they are. They plan to use recycled bottle tops to make footpaths that will ‘float’ above tree roots.

What a shame the Tyrrell Street abomination (where half the figs were removed to ‘upgrade’ a substation in the name of safety and allegedly dodgy roots) didn’t have a lasting effect on the way our council looks at keeping our city beautiful. They seem too often incapable of taking amenity into account when thinking about infrastructure.

And look at this wonderful poster that was shared in the website’s comments. Gorgeous.

There’s to be a fundraiser film night on Tuesday October 26th at 7pm at Greater Union Tower Cinemas in King Street, Newcastle. The film is, appropriately, The tree. Click on the link and you can read reviews and watch the trailer. It looks beautiful. It should be a great night – see you there. Home


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One Response to “More court coming up & a fundraiser to look forward to 16.10.2010”

  1. Julie Richo Says:

    My family and I walked amongst the Laman Street trees today (Saturday 16) very windy – gee willikers we had to watch those leaves a fallen.

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