Issue 67
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Welcome to Sustainable Wollongong Issue 67

Happy New Year - Welcome to 2021!

We hope everyone had a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

Along with the regular Grow Local, Did You Know, Sustainable Fashion and Threatened Species Profile articles, this months newsletter includes articles on:

  • Coastal Management Program for Lake Illawarra Becomes Official
  • World Wetland Day
  • Composting Workshops
  • Sculpture in the Garden
  • Free Music in the Garden
  • 8 Tips to Avoid Smells and Pests in your FOGO
  • Restoration and Rehabilitation of Bellambi Dunes and Lagoon
  • Koala Trees at Wollongong Botanic Garden
  • Repurpose, Upcycle and Make Friends

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

Pruning is an essential part of maintaining your garden and continuing the growth of good crops and healthy plants. Pruning can help to promote growth, prevent damage from weight, and tidy up plants. It can also allow you to reach fruit more easily for harvesting by keeping deciduous fruit trees at a height of no more than 3 metres.

It is important that you prune different fruit trees and plants using certain methods in order to allow for continued growth and the production of fruit.

Watch Gardening Australia’s demonstration of how to prune fruit trees and a number of native plants.

Harvest Now
FRUIT: Apple, Banana, Carambola, Cherry of Rio Grande, Chestnut, Davidson’s Plum, Feijoa, Fig, Lemon, Lychee, Mango, Olive, Panama Berry, Paw Paw, Peach/Nectarine, Pear, Sapodilla, Small-leaf Tamarind, Wampee, White Sapote, Acerola Cherry, Blueberry, Brazilian Cherry, Guava, Raspberry, Strawberry, Watermelon, Dragon Fruit, Passionfruit, Grape.

VEGETABLES: Leek, Shallots, Carrot, Radish, Rocket, Cucumber, Squash, Zucchini, Green Bean, Capsicum, Chilli, Eggplant, Tomato, Corn, Lettuce, Sweet Potato, Warrigal Greens.

HERBS: Basil, Parsley, Chives, Ginger, Mint, Lemongrass, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.
Plant Now
VEGETABLES: Shallots, Beetroot, Silverbeet, Carrot, Brussel Sprouts, Radish, Rocket, Cucumber, Squash, Zucchini, Green Bean, Capsicum, Chilli, Eggplant, Potato, Tomato, Corn, Lettuce, Warrigal Greens.

HERBS: Basil, Coriander, Mint, Lemongrass.
Prune Now
FRUIT: Peach/Nectarine.

Coastal Management Program for Lake Illawarra Becomes Official 

The NSW Government has officially certified Wollongong and Shellharbour City Council’s Coastal Management Program (CMP) for Lake Illawarra. The Lake Illawarra CMP was adopted by both Wollongong and Shellharbour Councils, and published in the NSW Gazette in December 2020. The CMP now moves from the planning phase to the implementation phase, with 39 actions to be implemented over the next 10 years.
The Lake Illawarra CMP outlines the two Councils’ long-term management plans for the Lake and is the first CMP to be certified for an estuary under the Coastal Management Act 2016. The CMP was developed in close consultation with the Lake Illawarra community, and provides a clear strategy for improving the environmental, social and cultural values of Lake Illawarra.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery said the ecological and environmental fragility of the area is reflected in the CMP and the actions it outlines.

“How we manage, protect and improve our lake is paramount. It’s a wonderful attraction and of great importance to both Councils,” Mr Bradbery said.

“We are very pleased that the NSW Government has certified the Lake Illawarra CMP and look forward to mobilising resources for its implementation.”

A certified CMP allows the two Councils to access 2:1 funding from the NSW Government’s Coastal Management Grants Program to implement actions outlined in the certified CMP.

If you would like to find out more you can check out the Lake Illawarra CMP Snapshot for a summary, or view the full Lake Illawarra Coastal Management Program here.

World Wetland Day

This month we celebrate World Wetlands Day on the 2nd of February, with this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. This day highlights the importance of wetlands, raising awareness on the numerous benefits of wetlands and why we must conserve them and use them wisely. The theme this year is ‘Wetlands and Water’.

Wetlands provide a number of essential ecosystem services such as improving water quality, habitat for native animals and plants, storm protection, cultural and recreational values, tourism, climate change mitigation and adaptation and several other benefits to us and the environment.

Across the globe there are 170 participants and more than 2400 Ramsar wetlands. Australia is a signatory to the Convention, being one of the five original nations to join and having the first wetland, the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory, designated under the Convention in 1974. We have 66 wetlands registered as Ramsar wetlands such as the Kakadu National Park (NT), Moreton Bay (QLD) and Macquarie Marshes (NSW). In Wollongong, there are several wetlands, such as Korrongulla Wetland at Primbee. Although these are not Ramsar-listed, they are still extremely important ecosystems that we need to look after and protect.

For more information, check out the Australian Government’s websites on World Wetlands Day and the benefits of wetlands.

Composting Workshops

With restrictions easing this month we have a number of workshops happening in February to help make the best use of our food scraps, paper, garden clippings, grass and weeds. Less waste going to landfill, means less greenhouse gas emissions!
Workshop participants from the Wollongong LGA will also receive a FREE bokashi bucket, compost bin or worm farm*
*Terms and conditions apply, see the event pages for full details.

Sculpture in the Garden

Wollongong Botanic Garden  |  6 Feb to 14 Mar  |  Free Exhibition  |   Open Daily

Discover 18 diverse sculptures on display daily throughout Wollongong Botanic Garden from local, national and international artists at this free exhibition.
The inventiveness of the works will captivate, connect, inspire and intrigue as you meander through the exhibition trail. Experience art out of the gallery, earthed and alive in the Garden – celebrating 50 years in 2021!
Opening hours:
  • 7am - 6pm weekdays
  • 7am - 6.45pm weekends & public holidays)
Visit for full details, including the catalogue and map and associated activities.
Don't forget to share your creative snaps on your socials using #sculptureinthegarden and #WollongongBotanicGarden or #WBG50.

Free Music in the Garden

To celebrate their 50th birthday, Wollongong Botanic Garden are hosting a range of events and activities throughout 2021. Enjoy a relaxed afternoon in the beautiful surrounds of the Garden listening to free live music, featuring talent from our region. Sunday Sounds is on every Sunday in February from 2pm to 4pm on the Mercury Lawn.
Connect to nature at one of the upcoming events or activities, bring some friends for a picnic, or just come for a walk to explore and enjoy the serenity.

Visit Wollongong Botanic Garden for more information.

8 Tips to Avoid Smells and Pests in your FOGO

Wollongong’s FOGO service makes better use of our green lidded bin by sending less waste to landfill and reducing harmful gas emissions. If you have a home compost, you can still use FOGO to dispose of things like dairy, meat and bones, that can’t go into your compost. If you’re worried about smells or pests in your FOGO bin with the warmer weather, try some of these easy tips to keep them at bay…
TIP 1:
Empty your FOGO caddy regularly (at least every 2-3 days).
TIP 2:
Take advantage of the new weekly service. Put out your green lidded FOGO bin weekly (along with your red lidded general waste bin) on your normal bin day – even if it only has a little inside. This is great news for wet, smelly grass clippings too!
TIP 3:
Place your FOGO caddy and green lidded FOGO bin in a cool, well-ventilated spot away from direct sunlight (where possible).
TIP 4:
Balance nitrogen (wet, greenstuff) with carbon (dry, brown stuff). If your green lidded FOGO bin is getting smelly, add layers of more dry garden waste like leaves and twigs to neutralise the nitrogen.
TIP 5:
Push aside some of the garden organics in your FOGO bin and place in the contents of your FOGO caddy.  Then cover over with garden organics again.
TIP 6:
Freeze meat, seafood and dairy and take it straight out on your bin collection day.
TIP 7:
Rinse your caddy and bin out with water regularly.
TIP 8:
Keep learning! Composters can FOGO and FOGO-ers can learn to make their own compost to use on their gardens. Come along to one of our February COVID-safe workshops on Composting, Worm Farming or Bokashi. Spaces are limited, bookings essential
Find out more, including our ‘How to FOGO’ video visit:

Restoration and Rehabilitation of Bellambi Dunes and Lagoon

Works are underway for the third and final year of the Restoration and Rehabilitation of Bellambi Dunes and Lagoon grant project. This project, in conjunction with the NSW Environmental Trust has focussed on restoring the integrity of the three Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC’s) at the site, Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest, Bangalay Sand Forest and Coastal Sand Scrub.
Works undertaken by the amazing Bellambi Dunes Bushcare group as well as restoration contractors has seen the site continue to thrive and provide habitat for a range of local fauna. Whilst on site this week, we spotted a Superb Fairy Wren’s nest in a Coastal Tea Tree.

If you would like to be involved with this project and help to restore Bellambi Dunes and Lagoon, please visit the Wollongong City Council website for more information.

Koala Trees at Wollongong Botanic Garden

Why did the Koala cross the Road? To get to the habitat on the other side.

Most Australians haven’t seen a Koala in the wild, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Koalas are a threatened species in NSW. State politicians are at logger heads over the survival of this iconic species, while some travellers only spot a Koala as road-kill, (busy roads and Koalas don’t mix).
If you want to see these cute Australians you should leave the car at home, then walk, ride a bike, or go by train to known areas of Koala habitat. If you choose to take the journey by car, drive more slowly and carefully, because Koalas really do cross the road to get to their ever-shrinking habitat on the other side.

It’s difficult to spot these tree dwellers in their natural habitat, the fur on a Koala's bottom has a speckled appearance which makes them difficult to see in the canopy. The easiest way to discover a koala resting in a tree is by looking down to see their droppings on the ground. These are small green-brown, fibrous pellets about 20 mm long and as thick as a pencil. The fresher the pellets, and the more abundant, the more likely Koalas are somewhere overhead.

Koalas live in a range of open forest and woodland communities but ultimately their habitat is defined by the presence of a select group of food trees. They are reasonably fussy eaters, grazing mostly on a few Eucalypts. In the Illawarra and south coast of NSW the Cabbage Gum Eucalyptus amplifolia and the Forest Red Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis are key food trees for the Koala, but other Eucalypts such as the stringy barks and boxes will do at a pinch. They may even resort to other trees such as the Bloodwoods Corymbia, Paperbark Melaleuca, Turpentine Syncarpia, She Oak Allocasuarina, and even some species of Banksia. Koalas will certainly use these trees as habitat, often preferring trees with thicker canopies to shelter from the sun and elements. They sometimes take up temporary residence in exotic trees such Camphor Laurels during extreme heat conditions, as long as their key food trees are not too far away.

To help people appreciate the plight of this important native animal Wollongong Botanic Garden is planning a self-guided walk focusing on the Food and Habitat trees preferred by Koalas in our region. Get ready to cross the road to spot the Koala signs in the Garden in the coming months.

Repurpose, Upcycle and Make Friends

Wollongong Council goes to great lengths to recycle and repurpose items that we no longer use. One such item is Christmas banners that have hung in the Crown Street Mall for several Christmas seasons.

The fabric is still strong, but the banners were starting to look a little less festive. Our Green Team saw an opportunity to invite the community to make swimming bags from the banners using Wollongong Library’s sewing machines. So, on the 27th of January we met up with participants who had booked through Eventbrite. It was like a scene from The Sound of Music, only we didn’t make matching outfits, just bags.

With the Sound of Music soundtrack playing participants were able to select a banner and using the template provided, cut the requirements to make their bag. As the banners had designs at various intervals everyone’s bag looked quite different and unique. There were a range of sewing skill levels from beginners to advanced. While we were social distancing physically, we were socially inclusive mentally. One participant, a new resident of Wollongong, mentioned that with the Covid restrictions she has found it quite hard to meet people and feel part of the community. When asked at the end of the day “What did you hope to achieve from today’s workshop?” she said, “Make a bag and meet some locals – which I did both!”

Australia is the second highest consumer of textiles according to Textile World statistics*. The Australian Bureau of Statistics say that on average, Australians buy 27 kg of new textiles each year and then discard 23 kg per person each year. That’s 500,000 tonnes of textiles and leather discarded each year. Many of us do give clothing to charity and of course, many siblings get “hand me downs”, but there is so much more we can all do. Look at the textiles in your home and before you throw it away, take time to consider, could it be upcycled or repurposed?

For more information visit Textile World

Sustainable Fashion

Reduce your 'footprint'

When we think of sustainable fashion, the first things we think about are shirts, pants, dresses, and outerwear, but what about shoes? Can we make more sustainable choices for footwear when they need to look good, be comfortable and endure a high level of wear and tear?

It is possible, and there are many brands out there that are focused on sustainable footwear that is vegan, plastic-free, or made from natural, organic or recycled materials. You can find sustainable choices of almost all styles of shoes, such as sneakers, sandals, heels, and boots, to suit any outfit and occasion. When looking for eco-friendly footwear, consider:
  • Recycled materials
  • Plastic-free
  • Locally made
  • Styles you’ll wear more than just once or twice
  • Natural materials such as cotton, cork, plant-based/vegan leather and natural plant dyes
  • Shop for second-hand shoes at your local op-shops
  • Eco-friendly packaging that can be reused, recycled, or composted
Incorporating sustainability into all aspects of our wardrobes is becoming easier and easier as new and innovative environmentally-friendly solutions are being developed. When you are next due for a new pair of shoes, why not consider how you can choose a more sustainable option while still purchasing a shoe that is comfy, practical and trendy. 

Did You Know?

Council has recently produced Verge Garden Guidelines which support the community in creating a safe and successful verge garden to help green our public spaces.

By converting the verge from lawn to a garden, this can help to save water and create beautiful green spaces in Wollongong.

Read our Grow Local Guides for information on plants that are edible and native in the Wollongong region that you can plant on the verge.

Visit Wollongong City Council’s website for more information on verge gardens and how you can create your own.

Threatened Species Profile

Common Name: Pied Oystercatcher
Scientific Name: Haematopus longirostris

The Pied Oystercatcher is listed as Endangered in NSW but is not Commonwealth listed. It reaches around 50cm in length and is black and white with a black-tipped tail. Pied Oystercatchers have coral pink legs and vibrant red beak and eye ring. The female has a slightly longer and more slender bill than the male.

This species is found around the entire coastline of Australia and is most common in Tasmania and areas of Victoria. There are sparse numbers of the Pied Oystercatcher along the NSW coast, with an estimate of less than 200 breeding pairs. The species can be most commonly found on open beaches, intertidal flats, sandbanks and rock pool areas.

The Pied Oystercatcher is a wader, meaning that they walk in water searching for food. They forage for food sources amongst rocks and sand at low tides, using their specially adapted bill to pry open molluscs, and also eat worms, crabs and small fish. The species has a breeding territory of roughly 200 metres, and females lay two to three eggs between August and January and are the primary incubator. Nests are usually formed on beaches in troughs in the sand surrounded by seaweed and other marine debris but can also be found in grassy areas. Parenting duties are shared and the species will make a loud high pitched ‘kurvee-kurvee-kurvee’ call when the nest is approached. Eggs are a pale brown with brown and black spots and streaks, making them very well camouflaged from predators. Once hatched, young leave the nest within several days.

This species faces a number of threats, including:
  • Predation of eggs and chicks by foxes, domestic dogs and avian predators such as corvids and gulls
  • Disturbance of nesting shorebirds by humans such as 4WDs and domestic dogs
  • Destruction of nests due to inundation and storms
  • Loss and degradation of habitat due to hydrological changes and contamination from run off in estuaries 
  • Vegetation encroachment reducing available nesting habitat
  • Injury or death from eating or getting tangled in marine debris
  • Declines in key food sources due to overharvesting, such as the Pipi.
For more information, visit the NSW Government’s profile and the Australian Museum’s profile.

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