Gungah Bay Road Tree Removal

On 10/11/2017  Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society received a copy of the letter sent to the residents of Gungah Bay Road advising them of the removal of Eucalyptus microcorys (Tallowood) under power lines on Gungah Bay Road between Roberts Avenue and Acacia Street.

letter states …..“The Tallowoods are an inappropriate species and are too large to be located under the power lines. Unfortunately, the trees have not responded well to the regular pruning around the electricity network, resulting in poor structure and loss of visual amenity. “

It is expected that the tree removal will occur between 20 November and 28 November 2017. The new trees Tristaniopsis laurina (Water Gum). will be planted within one month of removal and stump grinding.

If you would like any further information in relation to this matter, please contact Ausgrid Vegetation Officer-Horticulturalist, Paul Holmes on 9269 7501 or Council’s Tree Management Officer, Stephen Lunniss on 9330 6400.”


We assume that tree removal will be on the eastern side of the road, judging by the notice to residents and that there are no power lines on the western side.

It is a shame to lose mature trees like these, however we understand why they want to do this as the trees are pretty well butchered now and replacing them would mean that there would be consistency in the planting giving an aesthetically pleasing street view.


Tree Officer has informed us that they will plant 2 for 1 when replacing the Tallowoods (17, although we have counted 19 + 1 bottle-brush) and filling in the many gaps. This is an opportunity for infill planting required outside 19 to 21 and 31 to 41.

Council could also consider alternatives such as Wallum Banksia (Banksia aemula), Dwarf Apple (Angophora hispida) or even Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum).





Tree outside No13 can be retained,

as it seems to have survived pruning

and gone round the wires


It has been suggested that Aerial Bundling would be an alternative. Ausgrid will have to pay for that;it could be argued as they save on future pruning and in the long term cost saving. Also early appropriate pruning needs to be considered. Trees can grow around and above the wires. This needs long term planning on the part of Ausgrid. We urge Council to act on behalf of the residents to put forward such a case.

The Society will like a commitment from the council that tall trees will be placed in appropriate areas to compensate for the removal of mature tall trees as a part of their Tree Canopy Enhancement policy. Currently the water gums are the only large tree being planted this tree only grows 10-12 metres where as trees such as the Tallowood grow to 30 metres.

Tree Nominations – Community Input Needed

Unlike many Councils in Sydney, Georges River Council does not have a Significant Tree register for all valuable trees, it only has ones of heritage interest.

If Council does not protect our significant trees we are likely to lose most if not all our old trees that were planted when the suburbs were first established. 

A Significant Tree Register is being established by OFF to protect trees on public land. This may be extended as the project develops.

Generally, trees are assessed to evaluate their importance in relation to:

  • The tree’s historic &/or natural value

  • The tree’s social, cultural & commemorative value

  • Its visual & aesthetic value

  • Whether the tree is particularly old or vulnerable

  • Whether it is a rare species of tree

  • If it has horticultural or genetic value

  • Whether it has natural significance

A form has been created so that you can nominate trees that you think are significant & should be protected by a Significant Tree Register.  Your personal details will not be published.





Suspicious Demise of Palm at 2 Baker Street

It has come to our attention that the very large palm tree outside 2 Baker Street has possibly been poisoned. A request has been made to council to inspect the site and test for possible poisoning. It seems very convenient if the tree has to be cut down for the occupant of the newly refurbished garage into accommodation. Council have informed us that Council intend to maintain the stump.
Trimming of the dead fronds occurred today (08/09/17). There are a few green fronds. We hope it will survive!


23 Bay Road Development – Massive Tree Removal

A development proposal has come to our attention that will mean the removal of at least 30 trees, mainly very large significant Blackbutts. The proposal  is to demolish the existing dwelling and construction of two freestanding dwellings with bulk excavation including rock.
The Arborists report for Lot 22 indicates 24 trees of which 19 are to be removed and 5 having major impact.
The Arborists report for Lot 23 indicates 12 trees of which 11 are to be removed.
Total tree loss of 30 trees for both developments!
The Development applications can be followed on the Council website using the following DA application numbers: DA2017/0197 & DA2017/0198
 The following documents provide detail on the trees to be removed:
We urge you to make an online submission to council, against this development quoting the specific DA numbers. Submissions need to be made by 20 September 2017.

Oatley Bay Tree Massacre

A tree massacre has been bought to our attention at the Oatley Bay Memorial Boardwalk. A nearby resident was seen removing gum trees, mangrove trees casuarinas and others on the 13th of July.

Council were notified and  on the day visited the site and confiscated a saw and ladder.  Clearing continued on  27th July and 1st August,  this was reported with photos to council.

OFF members have visited this site and seen lots of small trees and some mangrove branches cut down and the stumps pasted in black (?poison).  All the destroyed vegetation still lying on the ground. It has certainly created a ‘water view’ for the occupant of one unit in the Kingfisher block (No. 136 Morshead Drive). 

Some have noted it would seem an ideal place to erect one of those boards that blocks the view from the unit and shames the perpetrator.  It has damaged the ambience of the Memorial Boardwalk; following website says “construction was competed in October 2008 and boardwalk was officially launched by the mayor and representatives from the St George RS.

Three Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos were seen climbing amongst the casuarinas that were still standing, and a Magpie-Lark was foraging on the exposed mud flat – certainly an area of significance for birds.




90 Gungah Bay Road Application for Street Tree Removal

UPDATE – 02/08/17 – Following advice from council Tree Management Officer the applicant has revised the application and drawings in support of the street tree retention and protection of the Melaleuca quinquenervia, (Broad leaf Paperbark) located on Council nature strip and the Archontophoenix sp (King Palm), in the rear of the neighbour’s property.

2 trees selected from the list of suitable species in the Georges River Council’s Tree Removal and Pruning Guidelines must be replanted within the front/rear yard of the subject site. to replace the palm that will be removed due to the development.

90 Gungah Bay Road – Application has been made for removal of a street tree in conjunction with a development at the property. The removal of this tree is not necessary for the development. There are two existing drive ways on either side of the tree. It is a part of a row of Melaleuca trees. Removal will change the streetscape. We have already reported the illegal removal of a tree in front of 79 Gungah Bay Road. 

Letter to Council from Resident:-

We object to the proposed tree removal in association with this development. We note that the Statement of Environmental Effects accompanying this DA refers to one tree removal yet the Landscape Plan proposes the removal of 2.

Our reasons for objections are as follows.

The street tree at the front is a valued and large community street tree providing a full range of ecosystem services, biodiversity and aesthetic values. There is no justification for its removal, as there is adequate room for a driveway access without its removal. It is not sufficient to propose a replacement street tree as they take so long to achieve the age and height of the existing tree.

There is also no justification for the removal of the tree at the back of the property either. There is sufficient room to re locate the proposed backyard built elements elsewhere so as to enable its retention.

We also do not support the species choice in the Landscape Plan. Acacias are only small tree species and have a tendency to be short lived. There is more than adequate space within this development to accomodate larger Eucalypt species that are consistent with the original indigenous vegetation cover.

The need to re-instate tree canopy cover requires a recognition of the fact that large trees are an essential element of this and whilst mid storey plantings of smaller trees and shrubs are also desirable, again are not sufficient.

Sydney Tree Canopy Study

Preliminary research data from 202020 Vision made in a submission to Greater Sydney Commission in April 2017 shows changes in tree canopy and hard surfaces from 2009 -2016 in local government areas in Sydney. A full report ” Where the Trees Should Go” is expected later this year. 

It is is interesting to note:

  • Hurstville Council looses tree canopy cover where as Kogarah Council becomes positive.
  •  Kogarah and Hurstville councils both have about a 5% increase in hard surfaces.








OFF Launches Council Election Campaign With Mass Planting

Today, Oatley Flora & Fauna Conservation Society (OFF) members and friends gathered to plant out a small portion of the reserve near Oatley station. The project was started in May with 300 plants and today it was completed by planting 200 more.

At the same time Society President Graham Lalchere announced that OFF has decided to take an active part in the September council elections. However, he said “We won’t necessarily be advocating a vote for any particular candidate. What we are looking for are new candidates who will give the newly merged Georges River Council a fresh start.”

“We are seeking candidates who will support:

  • Council openness and good governance

  • Protection of open spaces like Myles Dunphy Reserve

  • Effective control of developers and development

  • Protection of trees on public and private land

  • Georges River water quality improvement projects and programs; and

  • Climate change policies that enhance liveability and sustainability at the local level.

“With this planting we are putting our money where our mouth is and leading the way to maintaining healthy parks and open space” Mr Lalchere said.

So, what we will be asking the community to do is get to know who they are voting for – It really matters. First and foremost we want the Council to be well governed by ethical councillors who act honourably, fairly and solely in the public interest.

Protection of our local environment underpins the health and well-being of the whole community. Councillors have a key role in ensuring our quality of life is maintained so look for those who will be putting these policies high on the agenda.

To assist with this OFF will be raising awareness by canvassing the candidates’ opinions and positions on important local issues and publicising their responses.

“We cannot afford to sit back and abdicate our responsibility when voting on 9th September.

Show you care for our local environment. Ensure it is protected. Vote 1 for a fresh start” Mr Lalchere said.

Inappropriate Trimming of Street Trees

On going saga of over trimming on Gungah Bay road street trees. Council response (4/7/17) attached in photo below.

Why would Augrid remove the entire “western” side of the tree, which goes no where near the power lines? Or is this a convenient “out” for the owner?

23 May 2017: Gungah Bay Road – inappropriate trimming. This is a common complaint of  street trees around wires. The example 33 Gungah bay Road was sent to us by a concerned resident. Here a substantial part of Council’s street tree which forked eastwards towards the property, at 33 Gungah bay Road has been removed. The tree now appears to be unbalanced and may be in danger of toppling into the street. Georges River Council have been asked to investigate and advise what action Council is taking in this matter.

Urban Habitat Creation

Georges River Council is drawing on the expertise of specialist arborist, Michael Sullings from Sydney Arbor Trees to create nest boxes in dead trees that would otherwise have been cut down and mulched. The preserving of’wildlife trees’ is increasingly important as urban sprawl drastically reduces the number of suitable habitat trees.

Michael and his team use small chainsaws to ‘sculpt’ the hollows within the trunk or branch of the tree. The size and configuration of the hollow will depend on both the tree size and the target animals. More on  urban habitat creation


In the Georges River local government area work has been completed on trees in:

Depot Roberts Road

Myles Dunphy Reserve

Oatley Memorial Gardens

Spooner Park

Waterside Parade, Peakhurst Heights 

In the modern age, trees are usually viewed in terms of amenity and safety, with unsafe trees being removed entirely. What is generally overlooked is which aspects of the tree could be retained for the benefit of local wildlife and biodiversity. 

Dead and decaying wood is a food source for insects and other invertebrates, which are in turn food for reptiles and mammals and birds. Trees – alive or dead – which contain hollows are habitat for all manner of organisms. 

Cavities in trees can take decades or even centuries to develop into a large enough space for birds and animals to live in.  It is estimated that 15% of Australian vertebrate species use natural tree hollows for nesting, raising young and housing1. In NSW alone, over 150 species of wildlife use cavities, and are referred to as obligate hollow users. Around 40 of these species are listed as vulnerable or endangered

As people come to a greater understanding of the importance of urban wildlife, and the supporting role that trees – dead as well as living – play, hopefully dead trees and logs will come to be seen as a thing of beauty or at least a necessity.

Full Report on  urban habitat creation