Archive for the ‘31 Old Growth Conservation!’ Category

Large Gully Tree Killed

Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

This large healthy mature native Eucalypt has just been chainsawed to death today.   We could hear the noise of multiple chainsaws ripping reverberated around the neighbourhood from early this morning.

This tree grew on private residential land within The Gully Catchment on a large double block on the top of a prominent natural spur overlooking the northern part of The Gully not far from Horrie Gates’ old Catalina Dam.   

The Gully is a valued small natural valley situated on the western edge of the township of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

The particular site is zoned by local Blue Mountains Council as ‘Heritage’ and ‘Environmental Land’ under current Local Environmental Plan 2015.  It is also a very old settlement area of the Blue Mountains dating back to 1876.  In fact, it forms part of the oldest housing area of the Blue Mountains Local Government Area (LGA) and traditionally known as ‘North’s Estate’.

Land sale auctions advertisement from 1883

It was named after the first land Torrens Title owner John Britty North (1831-1917), an English immigrant during British colonial times who owned most of the immediate area and became a coal shale miner and then property developer there.

Close Up of the above map, the particular site is situated within ‘Sect IX’.


Recognition of this colonial heritage is such that this North Estate precinct has been especially zoned by council as ‘K171 – Norths Estate Conservation Area‘ under council’s LEP 2015. 

Was Council permission sought?     It appears from a call to Council, that it knew nothing about the owner’s plan to kill this significant native tree in this heritage and conservation precinct, as confirmed by CSR525105.   Council used to have a Significant Tree Register to protect identified significant trees within its LGA.  It no longer does.

So why kill it?  It was a slight 5 degree lean but in the direction of the prevailing wind.  Was it some perceived fear that in many years to come it might fall on the house?  Was it a prejudiced fear of gum trees?  For fire wood?  

This native tree was probably over 100 years old, perhaps dating back to the 19th Century and was the most prominent specimen in the immediate area.

What was left of the tree this afternoon before the rain came again.


Yet this majestic native tree was in good health and vigour, and showed no signs of decay.

Close up:  This tree was structurally sound.  No dead wood from the tree can be seen in these chainsawed sections (‘body parts’)


Was any prior assessment by professionally qualified arborist conducted on the tree?  

We recall back in 2014 with regards to saving the 300+ year old Eucalyptus oreades tree that local conservationists had dubbed ‘ATLAS’, that The Habitat Advocate contracted renown expert arborist (the late) Mr Fred Janes, to conduct a professional arborist appraisal and report on the relative health of ATLAS.   This was sought because a property developer of the adjoining land wanted the tree killed by chainsaw so that he could selfishly have an overflow car park for the benefit clients of his proposed industrial estate complex.  So he had secured a dodgy arborist, only licensed to use a chainsaw.   Where as Mr Jane’s report found the tree to be in good health and vigour, and Council agreed. 

SAVE ATLAS Campaign – Part 1


It’s a sad loss. 

We have observed over time since our own arrival in this special place in 2001, that whilst in The Gully’s ‘Aboriginal Place’ dissociated land parcels of native bush, the native trees within are culturally sacrosanct, as they should be; yet around the immediately periphery of adjoining private lands, housing development and deforestation continues incrementally.  It is death by a thousand cuts transforming the natural valley into an artificial urban landscape. 

This is why council insists on being called Blue Mountains City Council in its urbane dreams within a world heritage area.  


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