Issue 71
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Welcome to Sustainable Wollongong Issue 71

This month's newsletter features the following articles:

  • Grow Local: Synergy and Zoning in Your Garden
  • World Environment Day 5th June
  • World Environment Day Wollongong Botanic Garden
  • World Ocean's Day 8th June
  • Plastic Free July is Just Around the Corner!
  • UOW Students and Yours and Owls Planting for a Better Future
  • Wild At Art Threatened Species Competition
  • Council Planting Day at Sandon Point
  • Composting for Apartments - Let's Get Dirty
  • Sustainable Fashion Flip is Just Sew Now
  • Did You Know? Recycling
  • Threatened Species Profile: White-Flowered Wax Plant

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

Synergy and Zoning

Not only is it important to plant the right plants at the right time, but it is essential that they are planted in the right place! Imagine you are cooking dinner and could really use some fresh rosemary to add to your dish, but you planted this way up the back of your yard. Wouldn’t it have been handier to have this right at your back door?

Considering the types of veggies, fruit trees, compost, worm farms, and animals that you want to have in your yard and the level of management required to maintain each of them is really important in establishing a harmonious and prosperous food garden. Designing your garden so that elements you will use or visit roughly the same amount are placed near each other will make your garden more user-friendly and efficient and allow for these elements to interact in helpful ways.

By placing herbs and other easy to pick plants near your back door, this will encourage you to add them to your meal, while fruit trees or large composting systems can be situated further down the yard. It is also handy to have smaller compost bins close to veggie gardens so you can easily spread your compost.

The following zones may be useful to consider when planning and designing your garden:
  • Zone 1: The area immediately surrounding the main building, here is where you would put the things you want every-day access to such as worm farms, compost bins and veggie patches.
  • Zone 2: Requires less frequent attention, contains elements such as beehives, chooks/ducks, larger composting systems, perennial plants/pumpkin patch.
  • Zone 3: Fruit forest or provide grazing space for larger animals. Fairly minimal maintenance, often needing only weekly visits.
  • Zone 4: Furthest from the main building, this is where you might help provide some habitat, featuring hardy local native plants or natural bushland.
Read our Grow Local Edible Garden Guide for more information on zoning your veggie garden!

Harvest Now:
FRUIT: Avocado, Banana, Carambola, Cherry of Rio Grande, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Macadamia, Mandarin, Orange, Panama Berry, Paw Paw, Atherton Raspberry, Brazilian Cherry, Coffee, Finger Lime, Guava, Dragon Fruit, Passionfruit.

VEGETABLES: Leek, Shallots, Beetroot, Silverbeet, Spinach, Carrot, Celery, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radish, Rocket, Pumpkin, Pea, Chilli, Potato, Tomato, Lettuce, Sweet Potato.

HERBS: Coriander, Dill, Parsley, Chives, Ginger, Mint, Lemongrass, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.
Plant Now:
VEGETABLES: Onion, Radish, Rocket, Pea, Asparagus, Lettuce.

HERBS: Dill.

World Environment Day 5th June

This Saturday 5th June is World Environment Day, with the theme of Ecosystem Restoration. This day has been celebrated since 1974, with over 150 countries participating every year. This year the event is being hosted by Pakistan, and the celebrations also mark the formal launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.

Every three seconds we lose the equivalent of one football pitch of forest, nearly 50% of our coral reefs have been lost, and in the last century around half of our wetlands have been destroyed. For three consecutive years, global greenhouse gas emissions have increased, but at the same time we are losing forests, peatlands and wetlands which absorb carbon.

The event highlights issues such as climate change, marine pollution, food waste, deforestation and over-consumption amongst many others, and promotes awareness and action to help protect our environment, encouraging individuals to consider their consumption habits.

Check out the article below on World Environment Day events happening at the Wollongong Botanic Garden.

For more information, visit the the World Environment Day website and the United Nations World Environment Day website.

World Environment Day Wollongong Botanic Garden

Discovery Centre Friday 4th June - 10am to 2pm
Was Sir Joseph Banks an Eco Hero or an Eco Zero Workshop - With Michael Connor & Michelle Toms
Sir Joseph Banks’ Grand Tour
Come along on an experience at Wollongong Botanic Garden to celebrate World Environment Day. Meet the world-famous 18th Century Gentleman botanist Sir Joseph Banks at the Discovery Centre Wollongong Botanic Garden.

Banks will take you back in time to his first visit to these shores on the good ship the Endeavour two hundred and fifty-one years’ ago. Through the marvels of theatre and imagination Banks will recreate his experiences of this important voyage of exploration. He’ll share his memories of the people, plants and animals that he encountered in the Pacific and the tragedies that he experienced along the way.

Wild and Useful
Join Banks and others on a revealing tour in the Botanic Garden of various plant collections from countries he visited on the voyage of the Endeavour. Some of these plants are useful for food and medicine, others for building, fishing and for shelter.

The Debate: Was Sir Joseph Banks an Eco Hero or an Eco Zero
Back at the Discovery Centre the participants join Banks and facilitators in a debate about the impact of this famous botanist on the people, plants, and animals of the Pacific shores that he visited over two hundred and fifty years ago. Participants will also be given the opportunity to view some brief films about Sir Joseph Banks and the voyage made in house by the Botanic Garden staff and volunteers.

In this workshop you will be immersed in the natural areas of the Garden, so come prepared to walk and wear enclosed shoes and remember to slip, slop, slap.

Cost: $10 which includes - workshop, tea/coffee, biscuits, and a light lunch of pumpkin soup. If you have any special dietary requirements, please bring your own lunch.
Book your place online visit:
Or visit council’s Environmental Education Programs web page for the link to Eventbrite

World Ocean's Day 8th June 

World Ocean's Day is happening this month on Tuesday 8th June! The theme this year is The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods - highlighting the important role oceans play in the everyday livelihoods of people all across the globe, providing sustenance and income for many, as well as supporting many organisms.

This day has been celebrated by many since 1992, bringing awareness to our impacts on the ocean and how we can better sustainably manage the world's oceans and their resources.

Oceans provide several essential ecosystem services such as the oxygen we breathe, they absorb around 30% of the carbon dioxide produced by us, and of course are a major source of food.

Our current use of the oceans is unsustainable, we are taking more than can be replenished and this has unfortunately led to 90% of big fish populations to become depleted and has caused around 50% of our coral reefs to be lost. World Oceans Day brings awareness to these issues, and highlights all the benefits humans derive from the ocean and the duty we have as both individuals and communities to use these resources sustainably so that they are around for future generations to come. 

This year's event will be a virtual celebration, check out the World Oceans Day website and the UN website for more information.

Plastic Free July is Just Around the Corner

Small swaps = big change. How will you get involved this year?

Go plastic free at school
Did you know school staff, students, and parents can sign up to the new Plastic Free Schools challenge pilot program. It gives you free access to fun activities, ideas and resources like how to make waste free lunches, bliss balls and more.

Go plastic free at work
Update your email signature with the ‘I’m taking the challenge’ logo to show your commitment, put up a poster in the lunch room, or initiate an activity like a Plastic Free Morning Tea.

Go plastic free at home
We’re planning some great giveaways and a competition for everyone to get involved in, so be sure to keep an eye out in the July e-newsletter, follow Council’s social media or keep an eye out on the Plastic Free Wollongong web page for updates closer to July.

UOW Students and Yours and Owls Planting for a Better Future

Council’s Natural Areas Team recently hosted UOW Students from Campus East and members of the Yours and Owls Festival in undertaking two days of tree planting along Cabbage Tree Creek in Fairy Meadow.

The UOW Students were involved in planting alongside the Campus East residences and the Yours and Owls group are continuing to work on the creek line around Guest Park. The volunteers also conducted hand weeding and waste collection throughout the sites, removing over 200kg in waste and weeds.

The projects are supported by South East Local Land Services Mountains to the Sea Program and the federally funded Communities Environment Program aimed at improving the condition of coastal and estuarine environments and involving community in the restoration of the area.

To see how you can get involved in similar work, visit our Bushcare website and see what groups are in your area.

Wild At Art 

The 2021 threatened species art competition will be open for entries from Saturday 5 June, World Environment Day, to Friday 30 July. This year, the Australian Conservation Foundation is partnering with Forestmedia Network Inc. to make the competition bigger than ever!

Children aged 5-12 from all Australian states and territories are invited to unleash their creativity through art while learning about our incredible plants and animals, and the threats facing them.

Each child may choose one of Australia’s many threatened animals or plants to research, create, and write a short explanation of their work. Copies of artworks and written explanations can be submitted by teachers, program managers and parents via ACF’s website from 5 June.
Artworks by finalists will be chosen for an exhibition in Sydney in September, with winners announced on Tuesday 7 September, Threatened Species Day. Prizes and categories will be announced shortly.

Find out more and sign up to receive exciting news and updates at

Council Planting Day at Sandon Point

On the 21st April, eleven members from Council’s Environment Planning team and three staff from the Natural Areas team, planted 1500 grasses and ground covers at Sandon Point. The Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council were there helping out on the day and dug all of the holes for the plants.

This included species such as Lomandra (Lomandra longifolia), Dianella (Dianella caerulea), Carex (Carex appressa), Juncus (Juncs usitatus), Hardenbergia (Hardenbergia violacea) and Hibbertia (Hibbertia scandens), with 90% of those planted being Lomandra and Dianella.

These works will assist with ongoing coastal erosion issues at the site and will provide good habitat for small birds.

Composting for Apartments - Let's Get Dirty

If you’re living in a unit or apartment and are keen to reduce your impact on the environment, our Home Composting Program is here to help with free advice and a free worm farm or compost bin. Larger compost tumblers are also available if a community approach is preferred on your site.

Our staff will come and meet you and other interested residents in your block to discuss which composting options would work best for your situation. We will provide you with information and support to ensure your composting or worm farming activities are a success.

Best of all, you’ll convert your food waste into nutrient rich food for your plants, balcony gardens and lawns.  

Talk to your neighbours and body corporate and book a session soon!

To book: contact Council’s Green Team on or 4227 7111 to discuss a suitable time to meet*
*Terms and conditions apply.

Sustainable Fashion Flip is Just Sew Now

Sustainable fashion is hitting the runway at Wollongong Library with a new Library program, Fashion Flip, that encourages people to up-cycle clothes and other items into fresh designs. Fashion Flip, the brainchild of Wollongong local and fashion designer Gina Barjeel, is an exciting new Library program held twice a month at Wollongong Library.

Ms Barjeel first had the idea for a sustainable fashion program after seeing the free sewing machines available for use at the Library. “I saw the sewing machines at the Library and was told that everyone can use them and that’s when I had the idea to collaborate with the Library. I know how important it is to reduce waste, redesign and reuse,” Ms Barjeel said.

“I think slow fashion and sustainability is really important… so we are not wasting anything from the garments. Participants bring dresses, skirts, jeans, blankets or bed sheets to make into different kinds of garments. They’re bringing pants and turning them into a skirt or different material into hair scrunchies.

For Ms Barjeel, Fashion Flip encourages a love of fashion, clothing and sustainability that was a core part of her childhood growing up in Jordan. “I was raised in a family that used to upcycle everything from reusing containers and jars, to redesigning our clothes. My aunt was a dressmaker in Jordan for almost 50 years and she used to teach women and young ladies how to sew and how to make garments,” Ms Barjeel said.

Fashion Flip runs every second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 6 to 8pm for people over the age of 16 and is free to attend. Participants can use the Library sewing machines or bring their own as long as it’s in good working order.

You can read the full article here. Visit the Wollongong Libraries Fashion Flip page for more information. 

Book your free ticket to the next workshop by visiting Eventbrite

Did You Know?

You can recycle many common household items including cardboard, paper, steel cans, rigid plastic containers and glass bottles and jars in your yellow top bin which is collected fortnightly. But there are some common household items that cannot be recycled in your yellow bin at home but can be recycled at Council’s Community Recycling Centre at Kembla Grange. 

This includes items such as gas bottles, paint, fluoro globes, oils, household and car batteries, mobile phones, cardboard and paper, e-waste, fridges and freezers, scrap metal and mixed recyclables. Plastic bags are not accepted in your regular recycling bin, these will contaminate the recycling process.

Items must be in household quantities; except for fridges and freezers, items should be no larger than 20kg or 20 litres.
For more information, please visit the Wollongong Waste recycling webpage here and the Community Recycling Centre webpage here.

Threatened Species Profile

Common Name: White-Flowered Wax Plant
Scientific Name: Cynanchum elegans

The White-Flowered Wax Plant is listed as Endangered by both the NSW Government and the Commonwealth. This species is a climber/twiner plant, which varies highly in its form. It has fissured corky bark and can grow up to 10 metres in height.

The leaves are generally paired on this plant, and are oval in shape, ranging from 1.5-10.5 cm in length and 1.5-7.5 cm in width. The flowers are tubular and white, roughly 4 mm long. The fruit is a pod which can hold up to 45 seeds and has long silky hairs on one end.

The White-Flowered Wax Plant can be found in a restricted area in eastern NSW, ranging from Brunswick Heads to Gerroa. The furthest inland it has been found is in Merriwa in the upper Hunter River valley. This species is primarily located on the edges of dry rainforest vegetation but can also be found in vegetation types such as littoral rainforest; Coastal Tea-tree Leptospermum laevigatum - Coastal Banksia Banksia integrifolia subsp. integrifolia coastal scrub; Forest Red Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis aligned open forest and woodland; Spotted Gum Corymbia maculata aligned open forest and woodland; and Bracelet Honeymyrtle Melaleuca armillaris scrub to open scrub.

This species flowers between August and May, with this primarily occurring in November. The development of fruit can take up to six months, and seeds are dispersed via wind. A milky sap is released when the plant is damaged. The species has been observed to reshoot after fire but has also exhibited population decline in a location which has been annually burned. If slashed or grazed infrequently, this species can grow from rootstock. It is not known whether a soil seed bank exists but is considered unlikely.

The White-Flowered Wax Plant faces several threats such as:
  • Loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat due to vegetation clearing for activities such as agriculture, urban development and quarry development and expansion.
  • Competition with weeds
  • Agricultural activities such as grazing by domestic stock
  • Small populations which are therefore more susceptible to impacting factors
  • Disturbance from such things as inappropriate fire regimes, changes to hydrological processes, urban runoff, natural disasters, track construction and other environmental changes.
For more information, please visit the NSW Government’s profile and the Australian Government’s profile. All information in this article was sourced from the above websites.

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