The roar of chainsaws

I was just settling in to working at home this morning when I had a phone call.  One friend had been on her way to work by train when she saw two more massive trees about to be felled nearby.  She called home and her partner contacted me asking if I could offer backup at the site while she tried to contact the Council.  My friends are awesome.  I felt proud as I stood in support.  I have to say I feel so heartbroken at present I left most of the speaking to them and supplied moral support, numbers and hugs.

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So I went over.  These two spotted gums (E Maculata) are standing far more than the 10 metres away from any dwelling that would make them exempt from tree protection legislation.  I include the blokes in high visibility clothing for scale. Well, we didn’t let these trees go without a fight, contacting the Council, a local councillor, our State MP, the local newspaper… and so on, while holding respectful conversations with the men who were there to take the trees down.  It took some time to ascertain with confidence that the property owner needed, and had, a permit to fell them.  As events unfolded it became apparent that Council had recommended the application be refused and that this matter had gone to the Development Assessment Panel and been refused three times, finally being being approved on the fourth attempt, after 3 rejections.  I guess by now we know both that the 2011 changes to tree protection laws have removed many of the barriers to removal of trees like these, and that DAP is not a great protection either.

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These trees stand opposite the Goodwood Railway station and shade it in summer.  Rosellas and magpies were flying in and out of them as we spoke with the tree fellers in person and various other people by phone.  Of course, their proximity to the station also means the trees are standing in a small patch where hundreds of trees have been lost in the last few years and the roar of chainsaws has been a recurrent, powerful, appalling theme.  Friends came past on their way to work or from the shops or walking their dogs, expressing their sorrow, regret and anger.  One woman from my street, evidently feeling as heartbroken and unbelieving as I was, said: ‘I have to admit, I don’t like living here anymore.’


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Those birds won’t be able to live here anymore.  Meanwhile, we are still waiting for any sign of the promised revegetation of our area.  We have, however, been supplied with mulch.  Where once stood 20 trees, in just one patch I know well, we now have this.

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I try hard not to think about where the chainsaws were roaring to create that mulch.


Filed under Eucalypts

18 responses to “The roar of chainsaws

  1. salhumphreys

    Oh shit. ________________________________________


  2. Such a depressing outcome! but good on you and your friends and neighbours for standing up and asking the questions. What does it say about this country that so many people have what appears to be a pathological hatred of our native plants?


    • That we should be profoundly grateful our government’s attempt to reduce the world heritage area in Tassie went to an international body and not my local council? Sigh.


  3. It is just a shame that people can’t seem to revere these trees.
    And here, in the USA, they are trying to get the okay to genetically modify eucalyptus trees…… it makes me so sad, and angry.
    What is the world coming to?


  4. oh no, awful, I feel for you … sad and just SO stupid … 😦


  5. We saw the last of the canopy fall on the way home this evening. My son, who cries when the fruit trees are pruned, couldn’t believe more trees where going. Why? He says if he were in council he would say no to everyone who asked to cut down a tree, and when he couldn’t say no anymore he would make a robot to say no.
    In spite of all the recent losses, having people in the neighbourhood who will turn up and stand in front of chainsaws makes me pleased to live here. Thank you for being there.


    • I do hope he will be in charge of the decisions one of these days. Thanks for being one of those people in the neighbourhood. It gives me strength in times of heartbreak to be among friends such as you. It was wonderful, while we there trying to do what little we could, to be passed by so many people we knew who were all concerned. There will be more actions to follow…


  6. I just don’t understand why your council is chopping down so many trees? I am not sure if you live in a city but from the pics it does look like it. All the science shows with infrared heat photos how much heat is stored in heatwaves by roads, footpaths and buildings in our cities, except where trees are growing, where there is no heat stored. But I don’t really have to tell you this.. so sad.


  7. arrrggghh. Councils, local regulations, politics. It’s all pretty worthless unless you’re on the “right” side of the money and influence. I see it in my neighborhoods too. Just yesterday passed an area where they had absolutely butchered the trees for the wires. And then when those poor mangled trees fail, they use it as an excuse to take down more….But wonderful work on the part of you and your friends, you are the best.


  8. i remember the view on to Adelaide in the seventies when driving in on Greenhill road…treeless except for the eastern burbs. looks like we are heading back to the hot dusty plain again. i guess now many folks choose mechanical airconditioners over the ones mother nature invented. more fool them.


    • We moved to Adelaide in the mid seventies. My father was an early adopter of native plants as a thing to grow in your garden. I remember being a small child and planting a banksia in the back yard with him in Melbourne, in the early seventies, and he has never stopped. My parents’ front yard is all eremophila, grevillea, banksia, kangaroo paw, wattle… and a feature E Caesia ‘Silver Princess’. My folks come from Port Augusta, which was a barren waste where oleanders were the largest trees for much of my childhood. That same treelessness you’re referring to. I can’t believe anyone would want to go back now non-Indigenous people have had the realisation that native plants are well adapted to local conditions. Sigh.


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