Trees Deliberately Poisoned in Lane Cove North

tree vandal

The Willoughby City Council is battling to save three large poisoned gum trees in Kingsford Smith Park on Ulm Street Lane Cove North.

The park is located not far from  Mowbray Public School and was named after Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, aviator (1897-1935) who made the first trans-Pacific Ocean crossing in his plane, the ‘Southern Cross’ with Charles Ulm in 1928. The land was acquired from the Cumberland County Council in 1955 to create a park for public recreation.

As the park is located in Lane Cove North, the park is managed by  Willoughby City Council.


It looks like the trees have been deliberately poisoned as there is a drill hole at the base of the trees.  The Willoughby City Council is investigating the tree vandalism. A roving reporter advised us the Council is extensively watering each day to try and dilute the soil.  The Council is not sure if the trees will recover.

Poisoned Trees Lane Cove North

Drill Hole at Base of One of the Trees

The Willoughby City Council has the following policy on Tree Vandalism:

The management and preservation of all trees within Willoughby is governed by the  WLEP 2012 Tree and Bushland Preservation – 111 KB. Tree pruning and/or removals are only permitted with authorisation by Council. Vandalism, damage and poisoning of trees are specifically prohibited acts. Penalties are in place for breaches of the WLEP 2012 Tree and Bushland Preservation.

The following procedures for investigating instances of tree vandalism in Willoughby City have been adopted by council:

  1. Letter boxing the houses within vision of the tree(s) requesting information;
  2. Erection for a minimum period of 60 days, of a large sign or banner indicating that the tree has been subjected to tree vandalism and offering rewards (up to $10,000) for information leading to a successful prosecution:
  3. The tree is assessed as to the next appropriate action; if the tree is in bushland, it is left as part of the forest ‘decay’ cycle. If it is located in a public place where a public liability may arise i.e. park or street verge, then suitable pruning of outer branches may occur to make the tree more structurally ‘safe’ and the tree is left in situ;
  4. Replace severely damaged trees with advanced trees where appropriate:
  5. A media release is prepared;
  6. Where sufficient information is obtained, progress the investigation in co-ordination with legal advice

Any persons found guilty of Tree Vandalism may be liable to a fine of up to $1.1 million in the Land and Environment Court, or on the spot fines may be issued.

Just wanted to inform locals of some sad news about Kingsford Smith Park on Ulm St behind Mowbray Public School. 

It’s a shame, that someone has decided to poison the trees. The trees provide shade for children playing in the park and contribute to the famous bush landscape of Lane Cove North.

If anyone has seen suspicious behaviour near the trees, please contact Jason Baker at Willoughby Council on 9777 1000.


Thank you to a tree loving roving reporter for bringing this matter to ITC’s attention.

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