Home' Nova National : NOVA NATIONAL AUGUST 12 Contents something.
Yes, sometimes they look like plain
ratbags. Until history looks back, and
sees their courage, and sanity.
Within a couple of hours Forest Rescue
builds a tree platform. Sean "Roley"
Gransch takes up precarious residence,
enduring nightly winter cold and rain.
He's not shifting. "These are the costs
you pay to get some change," he tells me.
"We do like to see campaigns through.
We're in for the thick and thin."
The word goes out on Facebook.
Hundreds sign up, dozens come over
to share warm food and chai under the
still standing tree. Councillor Sam
Wainwright explains, "It's a great opport-
unity for people to come together.
There's been no confrontation with the
police, it's all gone very smoothly, because
it's been done in the right spirit. This is
about people trying to save something
important to the community, they have
a stake in it."
Local councillors and the Mayor of
Cockburn, Logan Howlett, are quickly on
board, trying to establish the developer 's
decision making chain. It seems they've
actually been chopping down a tree on
a neighbour's block because of its threat
to their own. They have permission, but
have destroyed the neighbour 's limbs
first before they start on the overhang
itself, and then the roots. Much time
is taken, trying to get to the bottom of
© NOVA AUGUST 2012
"They're very old beautiful
trees, they're heritage."
who said what and gave permission for
whom, and how the tree might be
saved still. Then there is the need for
significant trees like this to be listed on
the already established council register,
the need to consult Aboriginal elders
for trees of significance and heritage.
A professional arboculturalist quickly
donates his expertise and values the tree
at $80,000. Local member of parliament
Lynn MacLaren explains that people ring
her office regularly with stories like this
of suburban trees being felled, and the
need for a whole system response. You
would think such a system failure was
worthy of a Royal Commission. There was
one -- in 1903. Writer Irene Cunningham
quotes its findings: "Tuart is the most
valuable tree...Between Bunbury and
Busselton it is ceasing to reproduce,
scarcely a single seedling under ten years
to be found." But someone in 1903 failed
"We've been trying to protect the
tree: as you can see, it's a beautiful thing,"
says tree platformer Sean. And it is. All
because Amanda Joy gets out of bed,
instead of pulling over the covers. Because
residents park their cars under the tree.
Because activists build a tree platform.
And Facebook folk click "share" but then
leave their computers to come down, to
share stories and join the action.
The red tailed black cockatoo was
once seen in flocks of hundreds. They
are a raucous crowd, flying to a consider-
able height. But they are mostly gone.
Like the Tuarts, and native trees around
the city, a rarer sight. "They're very old,
beautiful trees, they're heritage," says
Sean. And so are actions like these. If a
tree falls in the suburbs, who will
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