Twenty-five years ago an officious character came to our house …

Comment on Lucky the Town Council isn’t in the forestry business by Mike Gillam.

Twenty-five years ago an officious character came to our house in Warburton Street. He demanded to know if I was responsible for planting street trees.
I asked him to leave, suggesting he find his manager. The manager arrived and we had a civilised discussion. I explained that we’d witnessed the death and replanting of Eucalypts every year for three years on nearby Winnecke Avenue.
The trees planted by Council were never going to survive on the stony rise with little topsoil and maximum solar radiation so we planted a witchetty bush.
Council’s manager explained that nature strip disputes between Council and home owners were numerous and some homeowners did dumb things. Sadly, I had to agree with him.
Apparently the water truck driver patrolled the streets each day with a mix of trees and shrubs and made planting decisions on the run.
Having established the absence of design in this process I unrolled a metre-long plan.
I explained the design rationale (involving the four residential property owners) at the east end of Warburton, a dustbowl at the time.
The manager noted that my choice and placement of plants was pretty much in accordance with Council’s own guidelines. As we parted he said: “I wish we had some-one like you in every street” and I assured him they were ready and waiting in every street.
The postscript to this story speaks volumes. The graceful ghost gum I planted on the n-e corner of Warburton was cut to the ground a decade later, an act of bastardry in a neighbourhood dispute.
It survived and sprouted two trunks.
The witchetty bush planted on Winnecke at the base of a low hill is still alive.
Everything in between was ringbarked and killed by whipper snipper crews except one beefwood, Grevillea striata.
Council could provide simple information showing approved planting zones, preferred trees and shrubs depending on the presence or absence of power-lines.
They could provide dial before you dig maps locating underground services and if some-one decides to add exotic lilies that aren’t on the list, if it improves their quality of life in some edgy suburb, well who cares.

Mike Gillam Also Commented

Lucky the Town Council isn’t in the forestry business
Watchn, my friend. I think you missed the point.
As homeowners retreat behind higher and higher fences, we’re fortunate that some generous individuals make an effort to return a little colour and joy to the public domain.
Not everyone sees the beauty in plants and they’re missing out.


Lucky the Town Council isn’t in the forestry business
The shrub should definitely stay unless its position is some great impediment to civic progress. Reading the crime scene I’m certain the plant is an Acacia evidenced in large part by the interest of the ewopa tribe known as processionary caterpillars.
I’m pretty confident that the denuded stick that’s causing so much grief is Acacia murrayana, a plant that features on the Town Council’s own list of approved nature strip species.
I’m sure that the home-owner is not the only resident to get such treatment from some staff at Council.
It’s absolutely high time that our civic trustees embrace and guide the efforts of ratepayers in this regard. After all those on the spot could actually reduce the appalling death of street trees that we experienced last summer.


Lucky the Town Council isn’t in the forestry business
How pathetic the Council dedicates so much attention to removing this tree (probably Acacia of insignificant height) so that a Nature Strip can be used as a carpark!
They should be supporting and advising anyone who cares enough to take responsibility for a nature strip and actually saves the Council effort.
BTW the tree will very likely recover from its caterpillar attack or is the Council now in the urban uglification business?


Recent Comments by Mike Gillam

Council resignations and surprising alliances
A backlash was predictable but I’m surprised by the use of “economic sanctions” on our region!
In the affairs of human relations and community bridge building this is a very, very small action. Clearly some of those skeletons in family cupboards must be rattling.
I’d be surprised if there were any serious threat to Stuart’s statue or his marble form in Adelaide. Mind you, when I think of Stuart it’s not a Daniel Boone frontiersman lookalike that springs to mind but the almost blind and half starved invalid supported on an improvised stretcher between a couple of skeletal horses.
Amazing subject matter for any sculptor.
Stuart is described in Wikipedia as “… a slight, delicately built young man, standing 5’6” tall (168 cm) …” This indefatigable Scotsman and brilliant explorer died in London at the age of 50, destitute and forgotten.
I agree with Hal’s comment that our community has stepped onto a slippery slope but I reckon we’re mature and brave enough to navigate through.
There are other street names that acknowledge historical figures with a chequered past and in some cases it’s their later acts of redemption that are truly inspirational.
Our history would be a blank book if all the flawed characters were expunged so those naive enough to believe in good and evil stereotypes should be careful what they wish for.
The lessons of Willshire include some very brave and honourable Europeans and some murderous native constables with their own agendas.


Council resignations and surprising alliances
A welcome decision, especially given its unanimous support in an often divided chamber.
Can we consider placing beneath the bold new street name, some reference to “formerly Willshire St.” in fine print with a link / QR code etc directing all to Council’s website with a summary of Willshire’s nefarious role in the history of Centralia and the processes that culminated in re-naming the street.


Stuart statue should have King Charley as opposite
A wonderful contribution!


Curfew a child protection measure: Territory Alliance
Thank you Michelle and Elle. All three levels of government (a perfect Alice scenario for blame shifting and buck passing) need to coordinate and invest in our young people. I expected better policy than this from Territory Alliance.


Mparntwe custodians: Lhere Artepe does not speak for us
Agree completely with Arunta Man, Perrule and Alex Hope.


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