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Save Our Trees rings loud on Sydney foreshore

Lee Rhiannon 12 Dec 2011

From across Sydney people came with their banners, their dogs, and their petitions in support of three magnificent fig trees in Yarranabee Park on New Beach Road Darling Point that are slated for the chainsaw.

Some out of touch Woollahra Councillors have voted to destroy these beautiful trees, so we were out in force. We gathered together under the canopy of these marvels of nature with a giant “Save our trees” banner.

Jack Mundey, leader of the Green Ban movement, spoke at the 100-strong protest in support of protecting the trees. Jack gave a stirring speech inspiring people that we could save these trees, citing examples of successful campaigns to stop the development of Centennial Park and other iconic areas.

I joined locals in speaking in support of those who for over two years have fought to protect these trees. These are some of my thoughts that I shared with the crowd.

Cutting the figs down to pleasure a few select residents and boost their land values is criminal. People are rightly angry that this natural beauty could be sacrificed for views and real estate.

Standing on the edge of Rushcutters Bay looking over the harbour it is obvious that these trees are part of the view, not a block on the view.

I also spoke about the important habitat these trees provide to so many species. Possums, birds and unique insects make their home here. There is even a fig bird, a not infrequent visitor, to these parts.

While I was waiting to speak a tiny little wasp landed on my hand. This wasp does not sting and for other reasons is very special. Known as a fig wasp it is critical to pollinating figs as it climbs around inside the unusual fig flower.

Some councillors argue that these healthy 80-year-old figs have to go for a few extra car parking spots. 

Tonight Greens councillor and NSW MP David Shoebridge will move a recision motion to save the figs and people will gather at the Council Chambers in support of the trees and a commonsense approach to this wonderful harbour park.

Good luck to them. Saving these figs is vital for the trees, our enjoyment of the park and the natural habitat. It is also important to win. Defeat will send a worrying message to some selfish folk in other suburbs that trees can be sacrificed for personal interest.

History shows that people will fight long and hard to save such magnificent trees. If we did lose tonight the campaign to save our fig trees is not over.

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