• David Pisoni MP SA Liberal Party
  • John Wishart The GREENS SA
  • Candidate to be advised SA Labor Party
  • Candidate to be advised SA Best
  • Candidate to be advised Dignity PARTY

Here is an opportunity to hear from each of them as they address some key issues relevant to the Electorate of Unley on Local Heritage, the Assessment of Development Proposals and the Greening of our City. There will be opportunity for questions from the floor.

When: Tuesday 27 February 2018

Where: Unley Park Sports Club, 8 Northgate St, Unley Park. Wheelchair accessible venue

Time: 7:30pm

Contact: Ros Islip 0438723001 or Warren Jones 0419852622

As you may be aware the City of Unley is establishing a Civic Precinct Development Working Group, http://www.unley.sa.gov.au/unley-news/november-2017/expression-of-interest-%E2%80%93-civic-precinct-working-grNominations are open until 1 December (http://www.unley.sa.gov.au/forms/civic-precinct-working-group-expression-of-interes).
This working party will look at and report to Council on options for the Civic Precinct, an area bounded by Unley Rd, Edmund Ave, Rugby St and Oxford St. This is the area inclusive of St Augustine’s Church, Halls and presbytery, Unley Town Hall, Civic Centre and library and the Unley Village Green (the villas and associated grassed areas). 
A ‘sister’ community based organisation (SOS Unley Village Green Inc) has created an online survey to gain opinions and insights into what the residents wish to see or not see for the this area. The survey can be found at, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/unleyvillagegreen.

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 8.36.59 pmA presentation by

Norman Etherington AM

National Trust of South Australia

Heritage is sometimes said to be a polarising issue. That proposition was put to the test in a wide-ranging public consultation conducted in 2016 by South Australia’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

The Community Consultation process is over and the Minister for Planning, John Rau has deferred consideration of legislative changes to Heritage legislation until after the State elections in March 2018.

So now what? Is local heritage still under siege? Norman, an Emeritus Professor of History and former Alderman of the City of Adelaide, has a rare insight into the State’s heritage issues.

Do come and hear Norman’s views. A presentation not to be missed! Following the presentation and discussion a light supper will be provided.

When: Tuesday 21 November 2017

Where: Unley Community Centre, 18 Arthur St Unley

Time: 7:30pm

Contact: Ros Islip – 0438723001 Warren Jones – 0419852622


When: Tuesday 19 September 2017
Where: Unley Community Centre, 18 Arthur St Unley
Time: 7:30pm
The formalities of the AGM will follow the presentations below.

Nomination Form for the FOCUS Committee of Management is available from the Secretary; Mary Rumbold phone 0450 434 167 or the FOCUS website.

Prior to the FOCUS AGM formalities, come and hear updates from Councillor Rabbitt and representatives of some great groups actively working in the City of Unley to preserve the City’s Heritage, History and Character.

Threats to the City of Unley
The implications of ad hoc and haphazard development – Councillor Michael Rabbitt

Community Group Highlights

  • Save Our Heritage Trees
  • Malvern DPA
  • SOS Unley Village Green
  • Friends of the Unley Museum
  • Grow Grow Grow

Question and answer session to follow the presentations.

A free presentation not to be missed!

Following the presentation and discussion a light supper will be provided concluding with the Annual General Meeting for FOCUS where President’s and Treasurer’s reports will be presented and Committee of Management for 2017/18 appointed.



Dear FOCUS Member,

FOCUS annual membership subscriptions for the 2017-18 financial year are due for renewal on 1 July 2017.

Your subscription will support us in our efforts to preserve the historical character of Unley.

Could you please check your membership details below and forward the form below by mail or email [scan and attach payment section]. Payment may be made by cash, cheque or direct debit to our bank account.

We aim to keep our members informed about FOCUS’ activities through our newsletter and bi-monthly meetings. If you have an email address, please include it below to help us minimize postage costs. We look forward to your on-going support in the pursuit of our objectives.

Mary Rumbold, Secretary


“Between a human and a tree is the breath. We are each other’s air.”

—Margaret Bates

P1180870 (Medium)

The green canopy of these beautiful River Red Gums soften and enhance the suburban landscape in Victoria Avenue, but for how much longer we do not know. An application has been submitted to council for the removal of these trees.

There is a wild beauty in the statuesque older trees that thrust their limbs skyward above our suburban dwellings. These trees provide numerous benefits to humans for free and without any demands, except perhaps to be allowed to live. Sadly more and more of our big old trees are disappearing from suburban areas and in most places big tree species are no longer being planted. Undoubtedly this urban forest adds value and prestige to areas like Unley and if we don’t act now to halt the loss of trees, in a generation all our Adelaide suburbs will resemble stark concrete deserts. Yet most people fail to even notice the demise of these trees, some of which stood tall and proud before Europeans even set foot on this land.

In February Unley Mayor Lachlan Clyne wrote to the Save Unley Trees Campaign advising that from August 2016 to January 2017 there were 29 applications for removal of significant and regulated trees with 20 approved. Our research shows that from May 2016 to April 2017, applications were submitted to the council to remove a total of 63 significant and regulated trees on private land. Of these, 39 were approved to be cut down, equating to roughly 3 trees every month.  Imagine what our suburbs will look like in 10 years time if this rate of tree removal continues. 

We, as human beings, have a long history of reliance on trees for shelter, food and fuel. This connection is reflected in the health effects we gain from exposure to trees. A number of studies have found that walking, sitting under, or even simply having a view of a tree can improve our physical and psychological health. Nature play for children and adults are in vogue and rightly so. What a bonus it is then to live in areas where you can access the health giving benefits of trees by simply stepping into your backyard or strolling down to the local street.

The value of trees also extends to the health of the community. There is great concern about the effects of climate change. One of the simplest and low cost ways to combat air pollution and rising temperatures is to have a good mature tree canopy.

Then there is the biodiversity that is reliant on trees. A mature gum tree for instance can provide homes and food to a variety of birds and animals. Given that another great catastrophe of our time is the rapid decline in biodiversity, the protection of habitat for other animals and birds is of vital importance and we cannot simply relegate such responsibilities to distant rural areas. It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that our little part of the world is a healthy space for humans and the other native creatures that inhabit it. The majority of Australians live in urban areas and these urban habitations are spreading further and further out at a rapid pace. So it is our responsibility as urban dwellers and inhabitants of this planet to respond in meaningful ways in our local area to globally important issues of climate change and biodiversity loss.

We could keep extolling the virtues and importance of trees to human beings but in many ways it comes down to the simple notion of respect and love. In our scientific, rational era, emotions are seen as irrelevant to issues of development, planning and progress. Yet in the last decade places like New Zealand are giving legal rights to natural entities(1). This excerpt from The Advertiser on 21 March 1933 by journalist Ernest Whitington, about the Eucalypts lining Brownhill Creek near Heywood Park, is as applicable now as it was then:

“I honour these men who love our gum trees and do something really practical to preserve them. I’m sure posterity will bless them for it”.

So let’s all do what we can to save the trees we cherish in Unley and across Adelaide’s suburbs. As they recently did in Melbourne(2), let’s write love letters to these life-nurturing trees and send it to those in power, the politicians and councils, who are currently approving the alarming level of tree loss across the state. A tree is not like a piece of Ikea furniture. It cannot simply be replaced by planting another one. We do need to keep planting trees, but we also need to be much more circumspect in our removal of trees, especially our significant trees, only doing so if they are diseased, declining or dead.  In this way we will pass down to future generations some beautiful green liveable areas like Unley instead of bleak concrete deserts.

(1) This year (2017) New Zealand recognised the Whanganui River as a living entity with same legal right as a human person.

In 2008 Ecuador included in its Constitution the Rights of Nature that acknowledge that nature in all its life forms has “the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles. And we – the people – have the legal authority to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. The ecosystem itself can be named as the defendant.”

In 2010 Bolivia passed the Law of the Rights of Mother Earth which gives rights to all of nature.

(2) Melbourne has a wonderful Urban Forestry Strategy where it plans to double tree canopy cover by 2040 by planting 3000 trees annually and only removing existing public trees if they are dead, declining, structurally poor or hazardous. As part of this Strategy, the trees were mapped and assigned a number and people could send an email to report damaged branches, vandalism or other problems. Instead there was an outpouring of love letters for various trees around the city.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/29/city-of-melbourne-prepares-to-see-some-emails-lovely-as-its-trees 

Anne Wharton and Dinali Devasagayam, June 2017


The setting sun bathes this stately old River Red Gum with a golden glow. Anne has grown up with this tree, which was already well established when her Great Grandmother built her childhood home. An application to remove this significant tree will be assessed at the July Development Assessment Panel (DAP).


(by Anne Wharton on behalf of Save Unley Trees Campaign)

Many residents in the Unley Council area are most concerned about the number of regulated and significant trees being removed from our suburbs, especially on private land.  Indeed this seems to be happening throughout suburban Adelaide.

In the property behind me at 47 Fairford Street are 2 huge River Red Gums, possibly 100+ years old.  The owners have recently submitted another application to Council to remove the western tree (their third application to cut down one or both of the trees).  Below is a photo taken today of the 2 trees and a photo taken before the new house was built nearly 2 years ago.  The tree under application is the right hand tree (western) and the bigger of the two and is on the Unley Council’s Significant Tree List.  You can also view again my neighbour Mark’s beautiful video of the trees at http://tinyurl.com/saveunleytrees.  If the application is successful, the removal of the western tree will have a detrimental impact on the eastern tree.

Top arborists in the state have emphasised the importance of such trees which are indigenous to the local area. These two trees are a community landmark, have enormous heritage value, and have important habitat and biodiversity value. This is as well as their huge environmental contribution in combatting climate change.

The Unley Council has done the right thing by twice engaging independent arborists.  These reports found that these sentinel River Red Gums are in good health and have the potential to remain actively growing at the site for another century or more.  As with previous applications, the owners have engaged arborists whose reports are in direct opposition with the Council’s independent reports.

The Council’s own arborist has declared that these trees are healthy and do not pose a significant risk. Two reports from a leading highly respected arborist confirm this as recently as January this year – so why are we still fighting for their survival?

Common sense says the Council should not be accepting any more applications on these trees – but  recent changes to the State government Planning legislation have weakened local council’s ability to protect our natural heritage and in particular our significant trees.  Common sense says, these trees have significant community value and the community should be allowed to comment – but again State government legislation won’t allow it. This gives property owners the licence to bombard Council with numerous applications, wasting the Council’s time and the rates we pay. 

Its time we stood up.  I urge you to write letters to the Unley Council and the State government stating that the legislation does not protect significant trees that are healthy and don’t pose a risk.

Please write to the Mayor and the CEO of Unley Council if you are concerned about the loss of these magnificent River Red Gums.  Below are their email addresses.

Mayor Lachlan Clyne – mayor.clyne@unley.sa.gov.au

CEO Peter Tsokas – cgowland@unley.sa.gov.au

Copy to:  Councillor Don Palmer – dpalmer@unley.sa.gov.au

Copy to:  Councillor Michael Hewitson – mhewitson@unley.sa.gov.au

Copy to:  Anne Wharton – whartonanne@gmail.com

We urge you to also write to the Minister for Planning, Mr John Rau (email address: agd@agd.sa.gov.au)

23rd May 2017.

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