Issue 85
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Welcome to Sustainable Wollongong November


We've been enjoying a bit of a break from what seems like never-ending rain, with warm sunny days very much welcomed. What better way to spend these glorious sunny spring days than getting out and admiring the beautiful blooming flowers at the Botanic Gardens, or going for a walk along one of Wollongong's many bush walking tracks, taking in the fantastic views of the ocean from the escarpment.

This month's newsletter features the following articles:

  • Grow Local: The Benefits of Growing Your Own Edible Garden

  • Powering Wollongong to a Brighter Future
  • Council's Tree Management Policy - Open for Comment

  • Australian Pollinator Week
  • National Asbestos Awareness Week

  • Guardians of the Green and Golden Bell Frog
  • Did You Know? Your Home Online Sustainability Tool

  • Threatened Species Profile: New Zealand Fur Seal

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

Growing an edible garden in your own backyard can have several benefits to both your well being and the environment’s. The satisfaction of growing fresh produce at home is very fulfilling, providing you with nutritious food and also helping to reduce your impact on the environment.

It is important that we consider how we obtain, use and dispose of food in order to support sustainable food production, distribution, packaging, consumption and disposal. By growing your own edible garden, or buying locally grown produce, you can reduce your carbon footprint all the while supporting the local economy. This can also reduce emissions affiliated with the transportation of your food. 

On our website we provide a range of information on community gardens, no-dig veggie gardens you can create at home, Grow Local guides, Love Food Hate Waste program, and low cost and free meals. We also have a ‘Second Time Round Recipe Book’ which is full of recipe ideas from local Wollongong residents that use leftovers in delicious ways!

Visit our Sustainable Food webpage here and you can access our Second Time Round Recipe book here

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

VEGETABLES: Garlic, Leek, Onion, Shallots, Beetroot, Silverbeet, Spinach, Carrot, Celery, Parsnip, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radish, Rocket, Cucumber, Squash, Zucchini, Green Bean, 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, Radish, Rocket, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Squash, Zucchini, Green Bean, Capsicum, Chilli, Eggplant, Tomato, Corn, Lettuce, Sweet Potato, Warrigal Greens.

HERBS: Basil, Chives, Ginger, Mint, Lemongrass, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.

Prune Now
FRUIT: Mulberry.

You can read the Grow Local Illawarra Edible Garden Guide here.

Powering Wollongong to a Brighter Future

The city’s 18,218 streetlights and 17 largest council facilities will soon operate on 100% renewable energy thanks to a contract signed last week with Red Energy. The switch, to start on 1 January 2023, will save up to 11,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. It follows a group tender with seven NSW councils—including Wingecarribee, Camden and Penrith—that was coordinated by Procurement Australia.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said the power purchasing agreement will initially see 85% of Council’s consumption replaced with renewable electricity at a fixed, competitive price for the next 10 years. Additional sites will be added as their meters are upgraded.

“The Australian-owned and operated Red Energy is a product of the Snowy Hydro Scheme. Our electricity will be generated at the 430-hectare Metz Solar Farm in Armidale,” Cr Bradbery said.

“This electricity isn’t just turning on lights, it’s powering human connections across our libraries, halls, leisure centres and pools, and helping our residents get home safely at night.

”To do that in a sustainable and cost-effective way is a massive win. It’s also a major step toward net zero emissions for Council operations by 2030.”

Read the full media release on Council's website.

Council's Tree Management Policy - Open for Comment

Council has developed a new Tree Management Policy to support our urban greening goals, and to make it easier for residents to manage trees on private property.

Updates have also been made to several Development Control Plan (DCP) Chapters to align with the new policy and reflect changes in State and Federal government laws for trees and vegetation. 

You can read the draft policy and customer guide on the Our Wollongong website and review the changes proposed to the DCP. 

Feedback closes on 16 December and we look forward to receiving your thoughts.

Australian Pollinator Week

NSW Government Saving Our Species News

If it weren’t for pollinators, we’d have no plants, flowers, or trees. Pollination drives biodiversity, with a wide range of animals, birds and insects transferring pollen during their nectar-feeding. In light of Australian Pollinator Week that occurred earlier this month, let’s meet some of the busy creatures pollinating our precious plants.

While bees get a lot of the credit, there are plenty of other unsung pollinating heroes doing important work, including native butterflies, birds and bats that are listed as threatened in NSW.

Regent Honeyeater
Regent honeyeater's have been known to track resources across more than 500km, pollinating Australia’s iconic eucalyptus trees as they travel. The trees they pollinate go onto provide food and habitat for many other native animals, including cockatoos, parrots, gliders and possums, making regent honeyeaters important biodiversity champions in open forests and woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

Purple Copper Butterfly
When Purple Copper Butterflies fly in September and October, they pollinate ground covers and forbs around patches of native blackthorn. Butterflies use a purpose-built mouthpiece – called the proboscis – to collect nectar. As the butterfly lands to feed on a flower’s nectar, pollen sticks to the butterfly and is then moved from plant-to-plant as the butterfly travels. Purple copper butterflies have been observed collecting nectar from many different native plants and flowers, including HardenbergiaWurmbeaViola and Davesia.

Grey-headed Flying Fox
The Grey-headed Flying Fox isn’t just adorable, it can also travel and pollinate plants over several hundred kilometres, dispersing its precious cargo over large areas. Flying foxes are important pollinators of native plants, including Australia’s iconic eucalypt trees. This gives them the well-deserved title of keystone species, because they are crucial to holding together their ecosystem. And because flying-foxes travel such large distances, they can disperse the seeds of rainforest plants in ways that other fruit eaters cannot.

Swift Parrot
The Swift Parrot's favourite feed trees include winter flowering species like swamp mahogany, spotted gum, red bloodwood and forest red gum, which produce lots of tantalising nectar that attract the parrots. The seeds and pollen stick to the birds’ feathers when they feed and are dispersed by the parrots as they fly to other locations.

Squirrel Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders
Vulnerable squirrel gliders and yellow-bellied gliders are believed to be important pollinators of the open-forests they inhabit, spreading pollen from tree-to-tree as they travel. Squirrel gliders’ diet varies from season-to-season, consisting of Acacia gum, eucalypt sap, nectar, honeydew and manna, and getting their protein hit from invertebrates and pollen. These nocturnal bushy-tailed gourmets can ‘glide’ for up to 100m, and travel around 1km each night to sample all the delicacies on offer.

Read the NSW Government Department of Planning and Environment's full article on Australian pollinators here.

National Asbestos Awareness Week

Asbestos is found in 1 in 3 homes across Australia. If your home was built before 1990, it could contain asbestos. Asbestos can be found throughout the home, in walls, bathrooms, ceilings, floors, laundries, kitchens, roofs, fences and garages. Asbestos is dangerous when damaged, disturbed or deteriorating so you shouldn't remove it yourself.

Four times more people die from asbestos related diseases annually  than on our roads. If you're looking to renovate, planning ahead will help avoid delays and cost blow outs. 

Be Asbestos Ready 
Before you begin a renovation, please follow these three simple steps. 

1. Think ahead: 

Remember that asbestos was used in over 3000 building products and can be found throughout the home. 

2. Plan ahead: 

Exposure to asbestos fibres can cause cancer. Fibres from disturbed, damaged or deteriorating asbestos are easily inhaled and can be a health risk. There’s no fast or easy way to remove it, so plan ahead to avoid delays and cost blow outs. 

3. Get a professional: 

Please don’t risk your health, or anyone else’s health. If you’re renovating, start by contacting a licensed asbestos professional if you aren’t trained to locate, manage or remove it. 

For more information on asbestos safety, visit 

Guardians of the Green and Golden Bell Frog

NSW Government Saving Our Species News

The motorbike-like call and bright and bold colours of the Green and Golden Bell Frog (GGBF) make it one of Australia’s most distinctive frog species. Unfortunately, this frog is endangered and needs your help! The GGBF lives right on our doorstep, so we’re asking the community to be our eyes (or rather ears) on the ground to help us find out where this frog is living. Do you have what it takes to be a Guardian of the Green and Golden Bell Frog?

A little over 10 years ago, GGBF were recorded in the thousands around Nowra across the Crookhaven floodplain. Data over the last nine years has shown the numbers and distribution of frogs in this population have crashed! Frogs are now present in low numbers and are restricted to the large swamp areas around Terrara and Brundee Swamps and wetlands and creeklines near these swamps. We need your help! 

The Department of Planning and Environment is coordinating a community-based citizen science GGBF survey and monitoring program, where we’re asking community members to help us survey and monitor GGBF. The data you collect will help us plan and prioritise our conservation work, and may help us detect any changes in the distribution of GGBF across the Crookhaven floodplain, as community members can survey areas outside of our formal monitoring program.

How to join the Guardians of the Green and Golden Bell Frog

1. Download the FrogID app onto your device through the iOS app store or Google Play, and create your profile.

2. Login to your FrogID profile through a web browser such as Google Chrome (not through the app).

3. Under the ‘my group’ tab, you can search for and join the Guardians of the Green and Golden Bell Frog group.

Surveying for the GGBF is simple – visit GGBF habitat and use the free FrogID smartphone app to record any frog calls you hear. Experts at the Australian Museum will then listen to your recordings and identify the species present. You don’t need to disturb the frog or its habitat to make a submission through the FrogID app.  

Important: Please follow safe frogging guidelines, such as cleaning and disinfecting footwear, tyres and equipment between frog habitats, to reduce the risk of disease spread. Do not touch frogs. Detailed information on hygiene protocols can be found in our Hygiene guidelines. 

For more information on how, when and where to survey Green and Golden Bell Frogs, read the NSW Government Department of Planning and Environment's full article here.

Did You Know?

The Australian Government has an online tool called Your Home which acts as a guide to environmentally sustainable homes. It is a resource for people aiming to build, buy or renovate a sustainable home, and can be used by homeowners, architects, designers and builders.

By incorporating good design principles in your home, this can save energy, water and money, reducing its environmental impact while creating a more enjoyable and comfortable home. The guide covers information on:
  • Passive design such as orientation, shading, passive solar heating and cooling and insultation
  • Materials such as waste minimisation, brickwork and blockwork, concrete slab floors, mud brick, rammed earth, green roofs and walls
  • Energy such as heating and cooling, hot water service, lighting, appliances, home entertainment and renewable energy
  • Water such as reducing water demand, rainwater, wastewater reuse, stormwater, outdoor water use, waterless toilets
  • Housing such as adapting to climate change, carbon zero carbon positive, the liveable and adaptable house and affordability
It also has several case studies from across a range of climate zones and building types to inspire your sustainable home.

Visit the Your Home website here for more information. 

Threatened Species Profile

Common Name: New Zealand Fur Seal
Scientific Name: Arctocephalus forsteri

The New Zealand Fur Seal is listed as vulnerable in NSW. They can reach a maximum length of two metres and can weigh up to 200kg. Their fur is grey-brown in colour, which is lighter on their underside. Their heads are more concave in shape compared to the Australian fur seal, they have distinct ear flaps, whiskers, and males also have a long pointed nose. 

This species is found in both New Zealand and Australia, but mainly breed in New Zealand. In Australia, they are generally found along the southern NSW coast, Montague Island and other areas to the north of Sydney. Preferred habitat for the NZ fur seal is rocky island terrain where there are lots of boulders.

The NZ fur seal primarily feeds on fish, cephalopods such as squid and octopus and also occasionally on seabirds and penguins. Although not overly coordinated on land, they are extremely agile and quick under the water. They produce one young at a time with an 8-9 month gestation period. They are predated on by sharks, orcas, leopard seals and sea lions.

There are a number of threats that are impacting on the status of the New Zealand Fur Seal, with the species nearly hunted to extinction in the nineteenth century. Some of the threats include:
  • Collision with water vessels such boats
  • Entanglement in fishing gear
  • By-catch
  • Pollution such as oil spills
  • Disturbance from humans which affects their haul-out areas and breeding time
  • Climate change which is affecting resource availability and breeding and feeding sites
For more information, please visit the NSW Government’s profile here, the Australian Museum profile here, and the Atlas of Living Australia’s profile here. All information in this article is sourced from the above websites.

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