Issue 70
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Welcome to Sustainable Wollongong Issue 70


This month's newsletter includes articles on:

  • Grow Local: Support Plants
  • International Composting Awareness Week
  • Renewable Energy for Small Business Webinar
  • Compost is Green, Brown and Beautiful!
  • Worm Farming Workshops
  • Compost Workshops
  • Bokashi Composting Workshops
  • Planting Events Keeping our Bushcare Community Busy
  • Get Ready for the Next Household Chemical Cleanout
  • The Young Person's Guide to Saving the Planet
  • Did You Know? Common (Indian) Myna Birds
  • Sustainable Fashion: How to Make the Most of Your Op-Shopping Experiences
  • Threatened Species Profile: Southern Brown Bandicoot
Feel free to forward this newsletter on to interested friends and family.

If you would like to make any comments or suggestions please contact us at

What's On Sustainable Wollongong - activities from backyard chook keeping workshops to cooking classes, bushwalks and education activities

Click here for Calendar of Events

Grow Local

Support Plants

Support plants are those that provide a number of useful services to your veggie garden and will support the growth and development of your veggies. They can include herbs, groundcovers, shrubs and trees, and are species that are generally hardy and fast-growing and are often not edible.

Lawn competes with fruit trees and potentially other plants in your veggie garden, therefore it is more beneficial to have support trees, shrubs and ground covers. Support plants help to aerate and improve nutrients in the soil, protect other plants from intense wind, rain and sunlight, encourage native animals to your garden by providing habitat, and can also themselves be a source of food for soil biology, chickens, wildlife and sometimes us.

They should be planted in the initial stages of your veggie garden or food forest, and as your veggie garden grows, plants such as fruit trees may eventually shade out your support plants.

There are a number of support plants suitable for use in the Illawarra, some native, some edible, and all helping with either improving soil, providing protection or habitat. Some of these include:
  • Ground Cover: Native Geranium Geranium homeanum
  • Tree: Bleeding Heart Homalanthus populifolius 
  • Shrub: Golden Tip Goodia lotifolia
  • Herbs and Grasses: Parsley Petroselinum crispum
For more information on support plants, read our Grow Local Illawarra Edible Garden Guide.
Harvest Now
FRUIT: Apple, Banana, Carambola, Cherimoya, Cherry of Rio Grande, Feijoa, Lemon, Lime, Macadamia, Mandarin, Orange, Panama Berry, Paw Paw, Pecan, Persimmon, Pomegranate, Acerola Cherry, Brazilian Cherry, Coffee, Finger Lime, Guava, Jaboticaba, Dragon Fruit, Kiwifruit, Passionfruit.

VEGETABLES: Leek, Shallots, Beetroot, Silverbeet, Spinach, Carrot, Celery, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radish, Rocket, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Green Bean, Capsicum, Chilli, Eggplant, Potato, Tomato, Asparagus, Corn, Lettuce, Sweet Potato.

HERBS: Basil, Coriander, Dill, Parsley, Chives, Ginger, Mint, Lemongrass, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.
Plant Now
VEGETABLES: Leek, Onion, Silverbeet, Carrot, Celery, Parsnip, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radish, Rocket, Pea, Lettuce.

HERBS: Dill, Parsley, Chives.
Fertilise Now
FRUIT: Mango.
Prune Now
FRUIT: Feijoa, Acerola Cherry.

International Compost Awareness Week

Better Soil, Better Life, Better Future

Sunday 2nd to Saturday 8th of May is International Compost Awareness Week, with the theme Better Soil, Better Life, Better Future. This week focuses on bringing awareness to the benefits of compost and promoting its use.

Compost is a valuable organic resource which provides several benefits such as reducing organic material going to landfill and reducing the production of carbon, supporting healthy soils and the growth of plants.

You can join in the celebrations by joining the competition of photos of your compost at home or work, register your compost-affiliated event or by sharing your ideas through social media! Visit the International Compost Awareness Week website for more information.

Renewable Energy for Small Business Webinar

Do you have, or know anyone who has a small business that is not yet connected to renewable energy?

Many small businesses operate mainly in daylight hours and have considerable roof space. This situation is ideal to substantially reduce power bills with solar panel purchase and results in a short payback period for solar panel purchase. Other renewable options such as Community Investment and Retail Power Purchases will be explored as well.

You are welcome to invite any small business owners who may benefit to register for this event.

Tickets are free.

Jonathan Prendergast, a Technical Director from the Business Renewables Centre - Australia will outline the benefits and options available to small business. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

Webinar Date and Time

Tuesday 11th May 2021, 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm AEST

Link for tickets


Compost is Green, Brown and Beautiful!

International Compost Awareness Week 2-8 May 2021
More and more people are recognising the benefits of composting. Composting has been the basis of organic gardening and farming since the early 1900’s. Composting diverts unwanted garden and food items – such as fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, hair, leaves, branches, grass clippings and other organic material – away from landfill and turned into a valuable product that you can reuse on your garden.

Compost promotes healthier plant growth.
Compost helps plant growth by balancing soil density. This means, in soils that are too tight, compost helps to loosen the soil; whereas in soil that is too loose, it helps to clump it together. This balancing allows plants to develop healthier roots into the soil contributing to healthier growth.
Compost improves the soil’s ability to hold nutrients and delivers much-needed nutrients. Compost also absorbs water, keeping plants from drying out as quickly.
Compost provides plants with greater resistance to pests and insects, as well as suppressing disease. This protection from pests is due to the fact that plants are more vulnerable to those menaces when nutrients are imbalanced; by balancing nutrients, compost helps plants stand up to those pests.
Finally, compost can also discourage certain weed types, which further benefits the plants you’d like to grow. The high temperatures created in making compost deactivate many weed seeds, rendering them harmless.

Find out more by attending one of our FREE workshops, see below articles.

Worm Farming 

Pets with Benefits!

No noise, they don’t require exercising, no pet hair everywhere, their manure doesn’t smell and is GREAT for your garden. Worms are awesome! They munch through your paper, fruit and vegie scraps and even old cotton items of clothing. Want to know more?
Come to our workshop where we will delve into the deep dark world of worms.

When: Tuesday 4 May
Where: Wollongong Library Time: 10am – 12pm
AND at Corrimal Library Time: 1pm – 3pm

Participants of the Wollongong LGA will receive a FREE worm farm* (worms not included). Terms and conditions apply. *

Bookings are essential for all workshops. Must be a resident of the Wollongong Local Government Area. Visit for more details or to reserve your spot in these FREE workshops.

Compost Workshop

Have you ever looked over the fence and wondered how those people grow such GREAT veggies? It is highly likely that they are using compost. Sure, you can buy compost … or you can make your own. Home-made compost is naturally tailored just for you and your garden. The things you put in are usually the same things you like to grow. Composting is easy once you know how.

When: Wednesday 5 May
Where: Warrawong Library Time: 1pm – 3pm
AND at Wollongong Library Time: 6pm – 8pm

This workshop is for residents of the Wollongong LGA and participants will receive a free compost bin. *  Terms and conditions apply.

Bookings are essential for all workshops.  Must be a resident of the Wollongong Local Government Area.  Visit for more details or to reserve your spot in these FREE workshops.

Bokashi Composting Workshop

Bokashi is a traditional Japanese fermenting agent used to add to home compost. It allows you to compost all your meat, bread, dairy and cereals as well as fruit, veg and paper. Most of us now have a FOGO bin, which is great. But this is taking your compostable food waste away from your garden.

With Bokashi, you can be giving back to your garden and reaping the rewards with home grown veggies, fruit and flowers. We will teach you how to make your own Bokashi. Bring a small container so you can take home a sample.
When: Friday 7 May
Where: Warrawong Library Time: 10am – 11.30am
AND at Corrimal Library Time: 1.30pm – 3pm

Participants of the Wollongong LGA will receive a FREE Bokashi bucket*. Terms and conditions apply.

Bookings are essential for all workshops.  Must be a resident of the Wollongong Local Government Area.  Visit for more details or to reserve your spot in these FREE workshops.

Planting Events Keeping our Bushcare Community Busy

April saw numerous community plantings being undertaken across the Wollongong region. Over 2500 native trees, grasses and shrubs were planted by Bushcare volunteers to increase bushland areas and provide habitat for native animals.

Volunteers were involved in not only planting native plants but assisting in cleaning up our foreshores and creek lines. Sites included Kanahooka and Cabbage Tree Creek in Fairy Meadow. The plantings were attended by numerous community groups including students from UOW Campus East residence, Yours and Owls festival organisers, Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, Dapto High and Kanahooka High.

If you are interested in getting involved in Bushcare events such as plantings, clean ups and hand weeding, please contact one of our Bushcare team on (02) 4227 7111 or

Get Ready for the Next Household Chemical Cleanout

Common household problem wastes, including fluorescent lights, smoke detectors, paint, gas bottles, fire extinguishers, batteries and oils, can now be taken to your local Community Recycling Centre (CRC) throughout the year. These items as well as other problem wastes can be dropped off at the Chemical CleanOut event.

When: Sunday 9 May, 2021
Cost:   FREE
Where: At Fred Finch Park Sporting Complex car park, off Bedford St, Berkeley
Between 9am – 3.30pm (no queuing before 8.30am)

You can drop off these materials:
  • Household cleaners
  • Fluorescent globes and tubes
  • Car and household batteries
  • Motor oils and fluids
  • Paint
  • Garden, pool and hobby chemicals
  • Poisons
  • Gas bottles and fire extinguishers
Only household quantities are accepted (20 kg or 20 litres max). Make your home a safer place for you and your family and dispose of unwanted chemicals. 

Remember to transport your chemicals carefully so they don’t leak or break.  For more information call the Environment Line on 131 555.    

This is a NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the Waste Levy.

These services adhere to NSW Government advice and protocols. Before you attend a Chemical CleanOut event, please place all materials in the rear of your vehicle. On arrival, remain in your vehicle and our contractor will collect your items. Contractors onsite will be wearing personal protective equipment and following social distancing measures.

The Young Person's Guide to Saving the Planet

The Education Team at Wollongong Botanic Garden are currently working with students from Five Islands High School at Port Kembla to breathe new life into Environmental Sustainability and Eco-Theatre for children. The students are helping the BG educators to rework one of the Garden theatrical pieces written and performed last Century The Young Person’s Guide to Saving the Planet. The play was produced by the BG educators more than twenty years ago to inspire children to learn and act for their Environment. It still has important messages to convey to a young audience today.

In the play a group of senior primary school age children (The Green Team) become environmental crusaders working to save the planet. But they haven't always been green. When we first join the three friends’ they are not doing much to help the Planet cope with climate change and other environmental problems; Alec wastes electrical energy, every day playing endless computer games and watching hours of TV shows. Polly, a germ-free adolescent, wastes water with very long showers and Euca vandalizes trees for fun. They eventually do their bit to try to save the Planet by working together and changing their behaviors.

Planet Earth is in more trouble today than it was twenty years ago, so it’s time to call in a new Green Team to modernize the script, focus the environmental messages and help us relate to a twenty first century audience. We are hoping that the students from Five Islands High will also perform the new Saving the Planet play in July at the Botanic Garden as part of our 50th Birthday Celebrations.
(Image: Euca showing the High School Students Ziggy’s Incredible Recycled Time Machine-a sequel to the Save the Planet Play.

Did You Know?

If you have problems with the Common (Indian) Myna, consider reducing your lawn area, removing exotic palms and using more local native plants in your garden.  Planting local natives encourages native birds and reduces the chances of Common (Indian) Mynas from establishing dominance in your garden.

Come along to a free workshop as part of our Common (Indian) Myna Bird Action Program.

This workshop will provide an overview of the issues caused by Indian Myna birds and how you can be part of our program to record and humanely trap them to reduce their environmental impact.

After completing this workshop you'll have the option to purchase a trap from Corrimal Community Men's Shed for $50. If you'd like to do this, please bring cash on the day.

Bookings are essential. Visit Eventbrite to reserve your place.

For more information, visit our Common (Indian) Myna Bird page or call us on (02) 4227 7111.

Sustainable Fashion

How to make the most of your op-shopping experiences
Op shopping is a great way to add new clothing to your wardrobe without the high price tag, and can give you unique pieces that are found no where else. But sometimes it can be difficult to find items you really like, so read on for tips on how you can improve your op shopping methods and score those awesome pieces!

Some tips for successful op-shopping:
  • Expand your search: Try looking through areas of the store that you normally wouldn't, you never know what you will find!
  • Set aside a decent amount of time to op shop so that you can give yourself a chance to come across those bargain finds
  • Only buy things you really think you will wear
  • Customise and alter: Maybe you find an awesome piece while op-shopping, but it doesn't look exactly how you would like - you can hem, take in or add sections of fabric, sew on buttons, add rips to jeans etc. 
If you are donating unwanted clothing items to an op-shop, make sure the items are clean and in a wearable condition, and also make sure you drop off your items in an appropriate spot and/or when the collection point is open, do not just leave your items. 

Check out our page on Second Hand Shopping here for our Op-Shop Guide. 

Threatened Species Profile

Common Name: Southern Brown Bandicoot
Scientific Name: Isoodon obesulus obesulus

The Southern Brown Bandicoot is listed as Endangered by both NSW and the Commonwealth. This is the Eastern sub-species found in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, but there are four other subspecies: I. o. nauticus; I. o. peninsulae, I. o. affinus, I. o. fusciventer, which are all geographically distinct from one another.

The Southern Brown Bandicoot is a medium-sized marsupial that reaches around 300mm in length and weighs between 400-1600 grams. Their tails are quite short at around 120mm in length and they have a long pointed nose. They are dark-grey or yellowish-brown in colour, with their underside a creamy white. They are often confused with Potoroos and the Long-Nose Bandicoot, but they are dissimilar from both in their thinner tail and shorter nose and ear length.

This species is sparsely distributed across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, ranging from south-eastern NSW, southern coastal Victoria, south-eastern South Australia, south-west Western Australia and also on the northern tip of Queensland. It is considered rare in NSW and is primarily only found along the coastal areas. There are two key locations where this species inhabits, which are the Ku-ring-gai Chase and Garigal National parks north of Sydney; and the far south-east corner including the Ben Boyd National Park, East Boyd State Forest, Nadgee Nature Reserve, Nadgee State Forest, South East Forest National Park and Yambulla State Forest. The Southern Brown Bandicoot can be found in habitats characterised by scrubby vegetation such as heathland, shrubland, sedgeland and heathy open forest and woodland, usually affiliated with sandy soils. Dense low ground cover provides this species with shelter.

The Southern Brown Bandicoot is nocturnal, sleeping during the day and coming out at night to search for food. They are omnivorous, feeding on a range of food sources such as insects, plants and fungi. When searching for food, they tend to leave behind conical holes in the ground. They are a solitary species with their breeding season mostly between winter to the end of summer, and can produce up to six young per litter, with around two-to-three litters per year. They have a gestation period of less than 15 days, and young remain in the pouch for around two months. Nests are created in low spots on the ground and lined with grasses, leaf litter and other plant materials.

This species existence has largely declined since European settlement, and continues to face several threats, such as:
  • Loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat through vegetation clearing
  • Predation by introduced pests such as foxes, cats and wild dogs
  • Changes to fire regimes
  • Collision with motor vehicles
  • Lack of knowledge around their distribution
  • Small and sparse populations which are therefore more susceptible to impacting factors
For more information, please visit the NSW Government’s profile, Australian Government’s profile, and the Australian Museum’s profile. All information in this article was sourced from the above websites. 

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