Following is a message from Sharon Healey re the Laman Street Figs again being in danger of being chopped down, and appealing for your support.

PLEASE NOTE: As well as contacting Councillors (see contact details below), please come along to the Public Gallery of the Newcastle City Council Meeting NEXT TUESDAY, 19th JULY, at 5.30 pm, to show support for keeping the trees.

Also, if you can get into Laman Street at 2 pm TOMORROW, THURSDAY 14th, when Greens MLC, David Shoebridge, will be there, that would be great.

And please join the nightly Vigil, which has re-started UNDER THE TREES, EVERY DAY, 5 – 7.00 pm
For further information, email Sharon at, or ph: 0425 313 309.

The resolution by elected Councillors of Dec 2010 has been ignored by Council Officers:

The solution for Laman Street Figs was simple.

  • Retain these 14 iconic trees by implementing alternative risk mitigation and tree management strategies including: making Laman Street permanently one-way, using warning signs, encouraging aerial root growth, establishing garden beds and mulching around the trees.
  • Give the insurers what they are asking for and engage a reputable company that can provide dynamic testing on the trees. This means scientifically testing them during wind events. To date all that has happened has been ‘visual tree assessment’ which is very subjective.
  • Accept that these trees are much loved by the public and ensure that future assessments of the trees not only consider health and safety issues but are conducted from a tree preservation standpoint.
  • And, replace the four figs that are missing from Laman Street as a matter of priority.

This truly is the solution. Council resolved to do this last December. So why is this issue still being debated? Why is Council about to have another vote on felling all of the 14 trees?

Responding to Statewide Mutual’s request for an alternative expert opinion SAVE OUR FIGS is calling for independent assessment of the trees.

Baseline dynamic testing for all 14 trees would only be $14,000 not $100,000 as reported previously in the media.

It is not only the community who doubt the methodologies of previous assessments and Council documentation. An independent review of previous assessments must be conducted.

SAVE OUR FIGS has always believed that while all trees carry a risk, the danger of the Laman Street figs has been greatly overstated by Council management.

The call for an independent assessment is perfectly timed as the International Society of Arboriculturists Conference is being held in Parramatta from 19th July. Some arborists have already expressed interest in reviewing the trees.

This is an issue of utmost significance with just shy of 10,000 signatories on our petition to save these trees from Council’s axe. The largest tabled petition in a NSW parliament was by a Coogee community group who had 11,600 signatures.

In fact, the State government is proposing a policy supporting a ‘people’s petition’. This would mean that issues that have between 10,000 and 20,000 signatures would be given the highest consideration.

Council CLEARLY has a re-development plan for the Civic Precinct & Laman Street “ANZAC CENTENNIAL PLAZA” and is determined to take the trees out to achieve it.  One concern has always been that such a development has been one of the drivers of the ‘risk’ claims.


  • Contact our Councillors and tell them that dynamic testing must be done before considering the removal or lopping of any of these trees. And, that the report must go directly to the insurer and not be ‘interpreted’ by council.
  • Attend the council meeting 5.30pm Tuesday 19th July Newcastle Town Hall, King Street help fill the gallery and show Councillors that we care.

COUNCILLOR contact details:

N.B. Please cc: as Official Mail to

John Tate (LM Ind)                   Ph 4974 2233                Email

Aaron Buman (Ind)                   Ph 0411 248 934           Email

Brad Luke (Lib)                         Ph 0427 622 089           Email

Scott Sharpe (Ind)                   Ph 0427 622 149           Email

Graham Boyd (Ind)                  Ph 0427 622 046           Email

Mike King (Ind)                         Ph 0427 622 324           Email

Bob Cook (Ind)                        Ph 0419 241 731           Email

Shayne Connell (Ind)                Ph 0427 622 139           Email

Michael Osborne (Green)          Ph 0439 442 984           Email

Nuatali Nelmes (ALP)                Ph 0431 662 652           Email

Mike Jackson (Ind)                   Ph 0401 089 864           Email

Time Crakanthorp (ALP)           Ph 0427 622 115           Email

Sharon Claydon (ALP)              Ph 0427 622 067           Email

Thank you for supporting this cause and helping us save these iconic trees!





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