Issue 75
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Welcome to Sustainable Wollongong Issue 75


We are enjoying gradually warmer days, fresh spring air and seeing new life with green leaves popping up again on many trees. Rain showers are providing our gardens and natural areas with a boost of life.  

We hope everyone is staying safe and following social distancing and hygiene practices in order to protect ourselves and others in the community during this time.

This month's newsletter includes the following articles:

  • Grow Local 

  • Aussie Backyard Bird Count

  • Global Climate Change Week

  • World Food Day

  • Happy Birthday FOGO

  • FOGO Going Further With Rollout

  • Connecting Neighbours Verge Garden Grants

  • The Garage Sale Trail is Going Virtual this November

  • "Thanks, It's Thrifted!" Competition

  • Getting Back to Nature and Growing Summer Vegetables

  • How to Use Your Worm Castings and Worm Wee

  • Did You Know?

  • Threatened Species Profile: Sublime Point Pomaderris

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

Do you have limited space for a garden or are unable to have permanent gardens due to renting? Don’t let this hinder your gardening creativity! If you have no space outside to grow plants, you can still grow plenty indoors.

Food can be grown anywhere in the home, from your kitchen to a balcony to a windowsill or any other spot that gets a decent amount of sun throughout the day. You can also grow various plants in all kinds of pots, get creative with what you put your plants in and reuse items such as food grade buckets, polystyrene boxes, jars etc.

Just make sure you water your pot plants regularly and add in nutrients by feeding them with compost or diluted seaweed. Also make sure the pots you use aren't too heavy so that you can move them if you need to.

Check out Gardening Australia’s fact sheets on using your space wisely and establishing portable gardens: Resourceful Renters & Renters Rule.

Harvest Now:
FRUIT: Avocado, Babaco, Banana, Black Sapote, Carambola, Cherimoya, Cherry of Rio Grande, Chestnut, Custard Apple, Lemon, Mulberry, Orange, Paw Paw, Peach/Nectarine, Plum, Atherton Raspberry, Blueberry, Jaboticaba, Strawberry.

VEGETABLES: Garlic, Onion, Shallots, Spinach, Carrot, Celery, Parsnip, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radish, Rocket, Squash, Zucchini, Broad Bean, Pea, Potato, Tomato, Asparagus, Corn, Lettuce, Warrigal Greens.

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

HERBS: Basil, Coriander, Chives, Mint, Lemongrass, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.
Prune Now:
FRUIT: Atherton Raspberry.

Aussie Backyard Bird Count

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is back this October! To celebrate National Bird Week, BirdLife Australia runs the Bird Count every year, with this year’s count occurring from the 18th – 24th October. All it takes is 20 minutes in your favourite outdoor space, recording the birds you see during that time.

You can count as many times as you like during the week, with each count a 20 minute block, and you can birdwatch in any space – from a suburban backyard, to a local park, patch of forest, at the beach or even a main street of town. It’s a great way to connect with nature and get to know the various birds that inhabit your local area.

You can submit your results using the app or the web form. The data collected assists BirdLife Australia in understanding more about the birds that live where people live. Every count helps!

Check out Council’s Illawarra Birds and Birds of Lake Illawarra brochures to help you identify local species.

Visit the Aussie Backyard Bird Count website for more information and to register. For more information on how to take part, head to the FAQ page.

Global Climate Change Week

Global Climate Change Week is coming up on the 18th-24th October, which aims to encourage academic communities – including academics, students, and professional staff at universities – to engage in climate change actions and solutions. We're partnering with the University of Wollongong to present a series of online events for the week.

There is an urgent need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases much more quickly than currently projected and there is also an urgent need to adapt to the global warming that can’t now be prevented.
The first Global Climate Change Week was held in October 2015. Held annually in October, Global Climate Change Week provides an open-ended framework for voluntary activities aimed at raising awareness, inspiring behaviour change and driving political transformation in relation to climate policy.

Join one of the free events to learn more about climate change, or explore our Botanic Garden's Go Slow for a Mo' Nature Wellness Trail. You can also visit the UOW website to find more local events, activities and resources for Global Climate Change Week. 

For more information on Global Climate Change Week, visit the website.

World Food Day

World Food Day is being celebrated this Saturday 16th October. This year’s theme is “Our Actions are Our Future – Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life”. As a global community, we each have a role to play in the transformation of agri-food systems – from governments to private companies, farmers, civil society, academia and all individuals.

Every time you eat, you participate in the system. The food you choose and the way we produce, prepare, cook, store, consume and waste it makes us an integral part of the way in which an agri-food system works, and affects our health and that of our planet.

More than 3 billion people, almost 40% of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet, and the world’s food systems are currently responsible for more than 33% of global human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Biodiversity and soil health are also affected by intensified agriculture, growing consumption of resource-intensive foods, and the conversion of natural ecosystems for crop production and pasture. 14% of the world’s food is lost due to inadequate harvesting, handling, storage and transit, and 17% is wasted at consumer level. Agri-food systems employ 1 billion people worldwide, more than any other economic sector.

Healthy and sustainable agri-food systems involve sufficient, nutritious, safe, affordable foods, where no one is hungry or suffers from any form of malnutrition, there is less food waste, the food supply chain is more resilient, and has minimal environmental degradation and contributions to climate change. It means food security and nutrition for all, without compromising the economic, social and environmental bases, for generations to come.

So, what can you do to help? Choose diverse and nutritious foods, choose sustainable, reduce food waste by buying only what you need and meal planning, recycle, compost, support small food producers and grow your own veggies.

For more information, visit the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations website.

Check out Council’s Sustainable Food webpage for information on the NSW Government’s Love Food Hate Waste program and information on low cost and free meals. Also check out our Gardening pages for tips on growing your own fresh and healthy food.

Happy Birthday FOGO

In November, we’re celebrating one year since we launched Council’s Food Organics Garden Organics collections to all households in our city with an existing green-lidded bin. It’s an exciting milestone and one that has resulted in an average of 400 tonnes of food waste a month being diverted from landfill.

We’re marking the occasion by delivering new compostable caddy liners to those with an existing FOGO bin. If you use an average of three liners a week, the rolls will last about 12 months.

Plus, we’re also moving forward on introducing FOGO into more multi-unit dwellings!

If you need liners sooner, you can always pick up more at your local supermarket. Make sure they are Australian Standard AS4736 and keep an eye out for the seedling logo on the wrapping so you know it’s made out of the right compostable materials.

FOGO Going Further With Rollout

The rollout of FOGO starter kits to unit complexes with 30 units or more and existing green lidded bins has started. Remondis, Wollongong City Council’s waste management contractor, is working with strata managers and strata committees across the city on the introduction of FOGO into unit complexes.

Through the introduction of FOGO, Remondis will ensure the complexes have appropriate signage and quantity of green-lidded organic bins to cater for the residents’ needs.

The rollout is expected to continue into early next year, with around 100 individual unit complexes needing to be contacted and an assessment carried out to understand their signage and bin needs for the varying unit complexes. These key steps will assist with educating the residents on FOGO best practice and help ensure the food organics collected from the units is uncontaminated by other household waste materials and able to eventually be turned into quality compost.

As when FOGO was launched last November, the FOGO kits delivered to each unit will include a welcome letter, FOGO user guide, kitchen caddy and a roll of 150 compostable caddy liners.

Strata committees of unit complexes of 30 units or more are encouraged to contact their strata managers about the rollout or to reach out to Remondis on 1300 362 360 or to learn more about the process.

“The logistical challenges of delivering FOGO to our unit complexes during the pandemic have been significant, but I’m pleased that the rollout of FOGO to larger unit complexes across our community has been able to continue,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

FOGO for Wollongong has been a positive step towards achieving Council’s net zero emissions targets, and having more households on board with the program will help drive the reduction of our environmental impact.

Residents across Wollongong are embracing a FOGO future with less waste headed to our red lidded bins and more to our green lidded organics bin. On average Wollongong households are FOGO-ing 1.8kg of organic waste each week, but there are still more opportunities to improve.

A little FOGO waste goes a long way and Council is encouraging households to make sure green-lidded bins are put out for collection each week, no matter how full. All the small quantities of waste that we collect from the households in Wollongong, add up to be a significant saving from landfill.

“I ask everyone to keep putting their green-lidded bins out each week with their FOGO waste, regardless of how full they are. The more we can encourage everyone in our community and get behind FOGO, and make small positive changes to their waste behaviour, the better outcomes we will have our environment.” Cr Bradbery said.

To find out more about FOGO – including details of what does and doesn’t go in your caddy - visit the Wollongong Waste website.

Connecting Neighbours Verge Garden Grants

We’re looking for ideas which will bring people together and help neighbours connect by sharing a verge gardening project. If successful you’d get a $250 Greenplan voucher to buy plants at our native plant sales. Applications close 30 November 2021. For more information and to apply go to:

The Garage Sale Trail is Going Virtual this November

Registrations now OPEN! This year you can ‘Choose to Reuse’ safely with virtual sales and shopping. Keeping everyone safe and meeting COVID-19 restrictions. If you’ve never sold things online before, don’t worry – there are lots of great resources to help keep it simple and show you how to find new homes for your pre-loved stuff or buy new treasures contact free.

Get excited as there are three big weekends in November to put into your calendar.

6 – 7 November – Online Masterclasses which everyone can join, regardless if you have or have not registered for a garage sale. FREE online Masterclasses dedicated to helping you learn how to re-home, re-love and re-purpose your stuff.

13-14 and 20-21 November – Two huge weekends of online garage sales. There will be hundreds of people all across Australia hosting garage sales. Shoppers will search the Garage Sale Trail site to find online sales and can build a ‘shopping schedule’ of the ones they want to virtually visit over the two weekends. 

Sellers choose whichever social media channel they prefer to use and can select whether they livestream their sale or just list items for sale via their feed. Livestreaming lets you interact with your audience in real time and easier to show off the items you have for sale. If you prefer not to be in front of the camera then posting a sale in your social media feed may be more your style. Buyers then just scroll through your feed/listings and comment ‘sold’ on the post purchase. Another option is to host a sale in your Stories which allows you to do more of the prep work in advance. Buyers send you a quick message to purchase your goods.

If you are not comfortable with using social media, you can link your virtual Garage Sale Trail sale listing to an online marketplace or store such as eBay, Etsy or others. There are lots of resources available to help you decide which is the best way for you to host your virtual sale.

The Garage Sale Trail team make it easy with tips, tricks and free promotional materials and secure, online payments made possible by PayPal.

Join a community of over 250,000 Australians choosing to reuse their preloved stuff. 

By choosing to reuse you keep items circulating and in use for longer and reduce your carbon, waste and water footprint, all while making you some money. 

Did you know?
Almost half (45%) of all global CO2e emissions come from making, consuming and disposing of stuff, meaning how we choose to consume and use things can have a big impact in the fight against climate change.

Host a Virtual Garage Sale or find out more at

"Thanks, It's Thrifted!" Competition

As part of our collaboration with the Garage Sale Trail event, you can get involved in this fun social media challenge happening throughout October that’s all about highlighting the unique, stylish and spectacular items you can find shopping secondhand.

Get involved 
Join the “Thanks, it’s thrifted!” challenge to showcase your one of a kind thrifted finds, and you will go in the running to win one of four $250 prizes awarded each week of October thanks to PayPal. Simply take a picture or short video with your favourite thrifted find and share on social media using the challenge tags.

✅ Follow @GarageSaleTrail
✅ Take a photo or video with your favourite thrifted find⁠
✅ Share to social media tagging @GarageSaleTrail & using #ThanksItsThrifted⁠

A winning entry will be selected each week and announced every Monday, kicking off from Monday 11 October. Winners will be awarded $250 thanks to PayPal. Something that could come in pretty handy for thrifting the Garage Sale Trail weekends on 13-14 & 20-21 November.

For details on the judging criteria and more view the terms and conditions

1️⃣ Follow #ThanksItsThrifted on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok to be inspired by the entries so far.

Getting Back to Nature and Growing Summer Vegetables

The Botanic Garden and the City Library have teamed up to present a series of lunch time on-line Community talks and demonstrations about bringing delicious plants and nature into our gardens, at 12 noon on selected Wednesdays in October, November, and December.

The series begins with Growing Great Vegies in October. This a great opportunity to learn some important tips for growing Summer vegetables. This practical demonstration on backyard self-sufficiency will show participants how to build the garden soil, fertilize and water the plants. Companion planting principles will be used to guide the planting so that the seedlings will thrive and survive pests and the vagaries of the weather. In no time at all wonderful home-grown produce will be ready for the whole family to enjoy.
Attracting Native Bees to your Garden is next on the menu at lunch in November. Participants will be invited to explore the mini world of Australian native bees. It is important to choose the right plants in urban gardens to provide nectar for these important pollinators. The bees in turn will pollinate the plants in nearby meadows and the woodlands. Bees are also responsible for 90% of the pollination of most of our important food crops such as tomatoes, capsicums, onions, watermelon, and macadamias. In turn we can protect native bee habitat such as tree hollows, muddy banks, and dry stems. Participants will also learn to create homes for bees in the garden such as bee hotels, bee cafes, and nesting boxes.


For the final course Mysterious Nocturnal Animals is served up at lunch time in December. Many native animals like possums, gliders, bats, and owls come out at night and some make the suburban garden or the nearby bush their home. Most of us miss seeing these fabulous nocturnal creatures as they move about scavenging and hunting for food. This presentation offers participants the opportunity to get up close with this hidden nocturnal world on our very doorstep. There are plenty of surprises in store some of the creatures are tiny while others are the giants of their species. Some exotic animals in the bush and garden are also nocturnal, so they will also make an appearance in the sights and sounds of this presentation of our gardens and bushland at night.

Growing Great Vegies 13th October
Attracting Native Bees to your Garden 3rd November
Mysterious Nocturnal Animals 1st December
To find out more or to make a booking head to the Wollongong City Library Website.

How to Use Your Worm Castings and Worm Wee

So your worm farm is full of castings but you aren’t sure what to do with them. First step is to wait for a sunny day. Then head out to your worm farm. If your worm farm has two trays of castings, you will need to take the bottom tray off and place it on top of the top tray. The reason for this is that we want to use up the oldest castings and this lower tray is broken down the most as well as being the most enriched with fungus and bacteria.

Now that this tray is on top, the sunlight will shine onto the castings and the worms will dive out of the sunlight back into your worm farm. After 2 minutes, you can scrape off the top 2cm of castings without the worry of picking up a worm.  Now, if you just have a few plants you want to use the castings on, just one handful of castings will do. Take that one handful and place it in the bottom of a 10-litre watering can. You then fill the watering can with water and start watering around you garden.

Not all the ball of casting has broken down, in fact, you will refill your watering can about 9 more times before all of the castings are used up. Potentially from that one handful of castings, you can make 100 litres of liquid enriched with worm castings that will activate your garden.

Perhaps however, you want to use up all of your castings at once. Again, you are only using them out of this lower tray. Wait for the sun to do its trick and the worms will dive down out of the light. Then gradually scrape off layers of castings. You can either bury handfuls of castings beside already existing plants or you can spread the castings out as a middle layer of a no dig garden or even just place some under plants as you plant them out. The key is that you do not place any castings on the surface. Once worm castings are touched by the sunlight and dry out they set like concrete. So always cover them with soil and mulch. They may have worm eggs in them and these will only hatch if the conditions are right.

Mulching and keeping your garden moist will set up your garden to become a worm nursery. Once this tray is emptied, leave it on top of the other tray and start placing your food scrapes in here. The worms will come up to this tray to eat. Just cover the food with a piece of cloth such as a cotton t-shirt and put the lid on.

If you have any other worm farm questions, please do not hesitate to contact Councils Green Team

Happy gardening. 😊

Did You Know?

Two Grow Local guides were created as a joint sustainability initiative between Wollongong City Council, Shellharbour Council and Kiama Council. Both guides are great resources on how to garden sustainably in the Illawarra region.
The Edible Garden guide helps you to choose suitable edible plant species for the Illawarra region, as well as garden design, soil health, pest and disease management and a number of other important aspects to edible food gardening. The Native Garden Guide helps you to know what species are native to the Illawarra region and also explores planning your garden and planting zones, and creating a habitat garden.

Threatened Species Profile

Common Name: Sublime Point Pomaderris
Scientific Name: Pomaderris adnata

The Sublime Point Pomaderris is listed as Endangered in NSW. It is a spreading shrub that can reach a height of two metres, with leaves that are narrowly oval in shape and have a smooth upper surface and furry under surface with margins curved downwards.

The flowers of this species are pale yellow and in small many-flowered clusters, and the fruit is a hairy, black, egg shaped capsule around 3mm in length.

The Sublime Point Pomaderris is endemic to NSW and is only known from one site at Sublime Point north of Wollongong, on the edge of the plateau behind the Illawarra escarpment on sandy loam soils over sandstone. Associated vegetation is Eucalyptus sieberi (Silver-top Ash) – Corymbia gummifera (Red Bloodwood) forest with occasional Hakea salicifolia (Willow-leaved Hakea).

Flowering occurs in late September for this species, although buds are present on the plant for several months before the flowers open. The fruit matures in November through to December, but this can be difficult to predict, and seed dispersal occurs very quickly and only annually. The Sublime Point Pomaderris is estimated to live for 10 to 25 years. Adult plants of this species are killed by fire, but its seed can survive fire in the soil seedbank and germinate following fire.

Due to the Sublime Point Pomaderris having a small population size and only growing across one small area, this species is at risk from many factors, particularly natural catastrophes like bushfires. This highlights the importance of ex-situ collections and seed banking to safeguard this species into the future. It also faces several other threats, such as:
  • Road verge maintenance activities
  • Weed invasion
  • Vehicle access
  • Dumping of rubbish causing physical damage to the plants and facilitates weed growth

Wollongong Botanic Garden Ex-situ Project
Wollongong City Council Botanic Garden staff have worked with the NSW Government’s Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Threatened Species Officers to research and conserve this species. This involved surveying the remote population in 2018 and 2020 and then monitoring for flowering and collecting seeds from thirty individuals by bagging sections of the plant with mesh bags. Seeds collected were also sent for conservation storage at the National Seed Bank in Canberra. Cuttings were also taken and are growing in the Wollongong Botanic Garden nursery as an ex-situ collection for research, which represent a cross-section of the wild population and are constantly under propagation. Backups of this collection are located at other partner gardens for safety.

For more information on this species, visit the Wollongong Botanic Garden’s website and the NSW Government’s website.

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