Author Archives: Wayne Olling

Werrington Kangaroos Update – April 2023

Once again, thank you very much for your support for the welfare of the mob of kangaroos and their continued habitat at the Werrington Park campus of Western Sydney University (WSU).

WSU is not communicating with us but we know WSU and its development partner, Stockland, are progressing plans for development of the Werrington Park campus – communicating with Penrith City Council, National Parks & Wildlife Service and other but not us despite we being the first to raise concerns about the welfare of the kangaroos on the site.

A resident of Western Sydney who is also concerned about the welfare of the kangaroos has passed on to us a response she received from WSU last November when she expressed her concern for the future of the kangaroos. We provide an extract herewith:

“In February 2022, the University announced a partnership with Stockland to create a sustainable innovation precinct on its Werrington campus. The proposal will respond to the unique features and biodiversity of the site, including the kangaroos. Working with our academics and researchers, the project will look to embed world class sustainability principles in its planning and design.

 In November 2021, a study was undertaken on the Werrington campus to determine kangaroo movements, management options and connectivity to a larger existing population within the South Creek riparian zone. The outcomes of this study were shared with Penrith City Council and National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS), noting their local and regional ecological responsibilities.

 Through our commitment to a resilient and sustainable future, the University recognises that long-term management of the kangaroos must be informed by research, data, and specialised knowledge. Working with our partners, the University is seeking to understand how to best manage the wellbeing, safety, and sustainability of kangaroos on its campus and is considering the appointment of an independent advisory panel to guide these outcomes.

 Western Sydney University recognises its role as the leading educational institution in the region. We are committed to delivering sustainable place-based outcomes in the interest of the communities that we serve. As the plans for our Werrington campus progress, we will engage with our students, staff, and broader community to ensure that their views are considered in the future of the site.”

We are bewildered at the potential for residential and commercial development on what has been foraging and habitat for a mob of kangaroos to produce a “sustainable innovation precinct”.

Re WSU’s statement “management options and connectivity to a larger existing population within the South Creek riparian zone”, this poses an unpalatable proposal to herd the kangaroos through existing residential and industrial streets of Werrington to push them into a mob presently inhabiting the South Creek area. A nightmare in waiting!!!

We will keep you, supporters of the kangaroos and their welfare, posted when we hear more.

Werrington Kangaroos

Pic 1

The issue of the fate of the kangaroos at the Werrington Park Campus of Western Sydney University has taken a turn for the worse.

There are four stands of Cumberland Plain Woodland near the western rail line in an area zoned E2 Environmental Conservation on the campus. Cumberland Plain Woodland is listed as “Critically Endangered” under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act and Commonwealth Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act.

These stands provide foraging for the kangaroos but, more so, they provide shade for the kangaroos on the hot, sunny days of Western Sydney as opposed to the broad grassed area of the campus.

While Western Sydney University is developing its plan for a business park on the Werrington Park Campus an act has occurred which is, at best, environmental negligence or, at worst, a treacherous attempt to destroy the integrity of the stands of Cumberland Plain Woodland in order to get approval to knock down and build where the stands exist as part of the upcoming business park plan.

In either event, what has happened is a serious breach of trust on the part of Western Sydney University subsequent to the university canvassing environment groups in year 2011 to support its aim of achieving United Nations accreditation under the banner of the “UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development”.

Our email and photos of damage, sent to the university, received no reply until more than a month after the mulch smothering was noted. All the while, the herbs, grasses, groundcovers and juvenile trees and shrubs which make up the complement of Cumberland Plain Woodland are being killed by the mulch.

The reply from university speaks of engaging a bush regenerator to provide recommendations for rectifying this disaster. That is further unnecessary delay. The solution needs to be immediate viz sensitive raking out of the mulch.

What is on display here with Western Sydney University is far removed from “Education for Sustainable Development”.

Alliance for Public Parklands

Your public parklands and your access to them are under threat.

The NSW Government is serving vested interests who seek to derive income for themselves at cost to the liberties you have enjoyed with public parklands such as Western Sydney Parklands, historic “Fernhill”, Centennial Park, Callan Park, Parramatta Park, Sydney Harbour Foreshores.

What was originally intended for these public places is being overturned.

In typical flow-on effect, this practice once well entrenched at the State level, will become the practice of your local government with respect to your precious local parks.

Whether it be individuals offering themselves to manage parklands for salary and selling off parkland areas to pay for their salary or whether it be entrepreneurs wanting to make money from being given or leasing parkland space to conduct a business venture there is one sure loser – you. Through this practice you will either or both have to pay for access to areas that were once yours for free or be denied access to what will become private areas which were once yours.

Another loser is the natural heritage and cultural heritage that might exist in those parkland areas as they are lost or modified to accommodate the aims of the privileged few.

This is a tragic statement on the order of government and society today. You don’t have open government. It is the domain of self interested carpetbagger cum bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, business interests and their collective lobbyists who have access to government chambers which you are denied.

In an effort to resist these sell-outs, an alliance of concerned citizens – from the sea to the mountains – have come together to form Alliance for Public Parklands.

Blacktown & District Environment Group Inc is now affiliated with this newly formed alliance.

We urge the public to also join. Go to learn what is happening and get involved to prevent this ‘theft’ of your land.


Old Growth Trees – Mulgoa Rd Jamisontown

The NSW Government has done what no other generation of government representatives or previous land owners did before.

The NSW government of today has made a decision to destroy most of the old growth trees alongside Mulgoa Rd Jamisontown which previous generations of Australians kept as part of the landscape of the area. A part of the landscape that has been home for numerous species of Australian fauna.

This is a shameful time and a space occupied in our history by shameful people. They did not have it in them to do what earlier Australians had in them – leave these trees to fulfil hundreds of years of ecological function. Anyone standing underneath these trees will see the evidence of constant activity of arboreal fauna and hear the constant daytime chatter of diverse native bird species – unique in Western Sydney.

But that is not good enough for the NSW Government. The chainsaws and the bulldozers will insensitively remove the trees and the hollows containing various fauna species in one fell swoop. It is nauseating that there are people walking among us who could act so insensitively as this  Remember them come election time.

Werrington Kangaroos

There are the two development proposals threatening the long term home of the kangaroos at what has been the Werrington Park campus of Western Sydney University.

One is the university’s business park plan for the greater area of the site. That situation has not changed since our last report except to say that the university has told us that the kangaroos will be part of the future plan.

The other threat is the 28ha section of the overall site which the university sold to a developer and which Lend Lease submitted a proposal for intense development. That land has been labelled 16 Chapman St Werrington.

The Lend Lease proposal is before Penrith Council and will ultimately go to an external NSW Planning Panel for determination. Penrith Council will make a recommendation to the Planning Panel but has already indicated some concern for the future of the kangaroos with the loss of nearly a third of their habitat and foraging area. It was also necessary for Lend Lease to obtain the approval of the Commonwealth Government in accordance with provisions of the EPBC Act.

Blacktown & District Environment Group (BDEG) lodged a submission raising concern about the future of the kangaroos and the loss of their habitat and foraging area. The EPBC Act offsetting guidelines acknowledge the worth of derived grasslands between stands of Cumberland Plain Shale Woodlands and the importance of connectivity for fauna. However, in the past week we received advice that the Commonwealth Government, in another capitulation to developer interests over and above environmental protection and its own offsetting guidelines, waved through the development proposal. Only some cosmetic deference to reporting requirements were placed upon the development proposal.

It is sickening that the present administrators of the Commonwealth EPBC Act serve only to usher in the demise of Commonwealth environmental protection. What is their worth? Who could achieve any satisfaction from destroying that which they are employed to uphold and protect?

We battle on fully aware that societal sensitivity is in decline and this is reflected in the diminution of environment protection legislation through bureaucrats lacking the fortitude and sensitivity of those who foresaw the need for environmental protection decades ago.

Werrington Kangaroos

This is an update to the matter of the kangaroos at Werrington Park we have been pursuing.

Discussions have occurred with representatives of Western Sydney University (WSU) as to the future of the mob of kangaroos which (including their ancestors) have been a resident part of the environmental and social fabric of the property Werrington Park back as far as the 1950s.

Representatives of WSU said they have not come up with a definitive plan but there is an intention to have development on the site as part of a major precinct plan for the area including sites not part of the WSU’s ownership. However, the representatives said preservation of the kangaroos on the site will form part of the plan and discussions are taking place with scientists and the government to that end.

We have been invited to participate in further discussions along the way. How it can be that the area of of foraging and habitat for kangaroos can be sustained while areas are subjected to development is not clear to us and is a worry.

Meanwhile, a third of the area that has been foraging and habitat for the kangaroos has been sold and is in the hands of Lend Lease. That party has a Development Application lodged with Penrith City Council as 16 Chapman St Werrington and intensive housing development is the proposal. No consideration has been given to the kangaroos and only miniscule consideration of flora protection on site is proposed by Lend Lease. We lodged our objection to this parlous situation with Penrith City Council and the Commonwealth Government and we await the outcome of our protestations.

Proposed Extension of Prospect Cemetery

Blacktown & District Environment Group Inc was invited to submit comments on a proposal to reassign land east of the existing St Batholomew’s Church Cemetery, Prospect so that the cemetery could be extended into that area.

The area is shown hereunder:

Prospect - Cemetery Extension

We inspected the land and noted that much of the area was occupied by exotic grasses, herbs and blackberry.

There were, however, some areas of native canopy with native understorey, some areas of native shrubs and, near the Great Western Hwy, a drainage area.

Our submission to Blacktown City Council identified the canopy areas as providing fauna habitat/foraging value as well as providing immediate aesthetic value and, in practical terms, providing shade for attendees of burial services on warm to hot days.

The areas comprising stands of the native shrub Bursaria spinosa were said to provide potential nesting for the Superb Fairy Wren known to inhabit the area. Additionally, the shrubs could provide something of a natural screen to the heavily trafficked Great Western Hwy on the northern side of the area and the M4 Motorway on the southern side. Planting of a native shrub layer (quicker growing) and canopy inside the boundaries of the cemetery area were also recommended for screening purposes but they would also benefit avian fauna.

We also recommended enhancement of the drainage area to make a wetland area which would provide fauna foraging/habitat as well as being an aesthetic water feature of the cemetery.

We await the direction Blacktown City Council takes on this matter but it seems certain the cemetery extension will go ahead.

Protect the Mob of Werrington Kangaroos

Werrington Kangaroos

The image above shows just some of the near 40 kangaroos on what has been the Werrington campus of Western Sydney University (WSU).

Prior to take-up of the land by WSU the land was government land. Early citizens will recall driving past this site along the Great Western Hwy or travelling by train and seeing a mob of kangaroos as well as emus grazing freely under protection.

Well, today the emus are gone but kangaroos remain. The site, therefore, has sustained a population of Eastern Grey Kangaroos – an emblem of the natural heritage of the eastern margin of NSW for nearly 70 years, at least.

The NSW Heritage Register recognises the Georgian Revival style house ‘Frogmore’ on the land and, significantly, includes as part of the listing “The expansive undulating grounds provide an important parklike element which is visible from both the railway and road. These grounds serve to demarcate the South Creek basin from the Nepean Valley system.”  These grounds are the foraging area and habitat for the mob of kangaroos.

Sad to say, a real threat now exists from an educational institution looking for financial gain from the land at cost to the survival of the mob of kangaroos. More than a third of the approximately 80 plus ha of land has been quietly sold to a developer and the international company Lend Lease is seeking intensive residential development on the 28ha purchased. Even more sadly, Lend Lease has relied on a completely erroneous fauna survey which does not even recognise the presence of kangaroos foraging the site.

Now WSU is seeking to develop a business park on the remaining area of the campus site. Such a proposal cannot accommodate the mob of kangaroos and what is supposed to be an institution educating future generations on environmental sensitivity is set to be ordering the killing of kangaroos which have previously been protected in situ.

Blacktown & District Environment Group Inc opposes this wilful grab for dollars at cost to this representation of one of our national and cultural heritage. We will join with others protesting the actions of Lend Lease and Western Sydney University. In the interim please go to to sign the petition to protect the mob of kangaroos.

Old Growth Trees – Mulgoa Rd Penrith

Blacktown & District Environment Group has joined with other Conservationists in Western Sydney who oppose the destruction of old growth Eucalyptus amplifolia trees adjacent to Mulgoa Rd, Jamisontown, Penrith.

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has initiated a plan to widen Mulgoa Rd and the Review of Environmental Factors commissioned for the project proposes destruction of the trees.

The trees can be seen immediately on the western side of Mulgoa Rd in the following aerial photo:

Mulgoa Rd Amplifolia (3)-Inked

Not all of the approximately 40 trees are old growth (some have regenerated from the older trees) but a little less than half are old growth with some almost certainly 200 to 400 years old. As such, the older trees are living emblems representing the landscape through which Aboriginal forebears and European settlers such as Sir John Jamison, William Cox, his son Edward Cox (who built historic “Fernhill”), James (Toby) Ryan MLC (who built historic “Emu Hall”) passed as they went about their lives. There were many other early people for whom space does not permit naming but it needs to be clearly said that as people moved between the locations which became Mulgoa and Windsor they would have passed by and perhaps took shelter under the older trees of which we speak.

If our society makes much of preserving built structures identifying with notable people or events of the past why is there insufficient regard given to preserving living organisms which formed part of the life, if only as landscape but quite possibly more, for notable people or events of the past?

In short we reply, “We should regard them!”

As trees age they lose limbs and create hollows which become habitat for a wide range of fauna. That has happened with the trees of 100 years or more age here alongside Mulgoa Rd. We don’t dare venture to quantify the fauna species inhabiting these hollows but a casual passer-by will see activity in and out of and on the edge of the hollows by Corellas, Red-rumped Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets. Possum scratches are also visible on the trees. Other passers-by would see other species for it is well known to locals the extent of fauna activity with the large number of hollows these trees bear.

Also of high significance but inadequately addressed in the Review of Environmental Factors is the number of scars many of the trees bear. It would seem that a broad involvement of Aboriginal groups were not involved in assessment of the scars to determine whether there are any Aboriginal Scarred Trees. This is a shortcoming. More than one Aboriginal person should have been involved to determine whether any of the trees were used by early Aboriginals for resources in their living.

Take a look at the following aerial image of the location of these trees. The image was taken in 1943 and you will note that, apart from a stand of Eucalypts east of Mulgoa Rd, the stand of trees in the centre of the image were the few survivors from land clearing of the whole area:

Mulgoa Rd Amplifolia (2)-Inked

What that image tells us is that 75 years ago (and well before that) these trees were the subject of preservation wishes of past inhabitants of the area that became the City of Penrith. That which applied in the minds of people in the past has proven to be of benefit to ecology, landscape, cultural and natural heritage experienced past and present. Who is it then who has been born into the world in these present times who will overturn all the conservation endeavours of people in the past, people dating back in some instances, as much as 400 years?

It needs to be realised by RMS that there are only two principal routes from the south into Penrith CBD and beyond viz The Northern Rd and Mulgoa Rd (the only other route is Kingswood Rd but it is somewhat out-of-the-way). Traffic demand will only increase on these roads. Already, The Northern Road is under extensive widening and Mulgoa Rd is now under consideration. However, the future will produce greater demand and perhaps introduction of dedicated bus lanes or light rail will be placed on a future agenda. Such potential demands the provision of road reserve for further widening now and the only viable option to achieving that reserve is to acquire the residential properties on the eastern side of Mulgoa Rd.

What is proposed in the present Review of Environmental Factors to take out the old growth trees will still have adverse impacts on the residents living on the eastern side of Mulgoa Rd. The wider and more trafficked Mulgoa Rd will be closer to residents and a noise wall will be a visual and breeze barrier to residents.

This writer is well experienced with RMS road upgrades. He and his past neighbours have suffered the ill effects of the widening of the road outside their property from road to highway and the immense increase in traffic associated noise, air pollution and the ‘prisoner-like’ lifestyle as one attempts to limit exposure by staying indoors rather than making use of the full residential boundary. This writer eventually had to move out to quieter and cleaner surroundings. In doing so he found his property value was less than those properties not directly exposed to a major road in the area where he lived.

Further, a noise wall acts as a barrier to the movement of much desired breezes in the hotter months of the year yet it somehow fails to prevent the small carcinogenic vehicle emission particulates drifting into the residence despite windows and doors being closed. If not a long term health risk these particulates make the residence constantly dirty and requiring more regular cleaning than would otherwise be the case.

If I were a resident alongside Mulgoa Rd in the area of Jamisontown I would be pursuing resumption of my property by RMS, with adequate compensation to facilitate a move to a better location, and make a new start in life. Property value will not keep up with others in the area once the road upgrade commences so the better option is to take the early recourse of a move.

Sadly, Infrastructure – road, rail, plane or other is the ‘god of this age’ and is difficult to resist as it imposes itself on the lives of people, animals and the landscape. The Mulgoa Rd upgrade in Jamisontown has the potential to make life horrendous for humans and animals living alongside the road. Also, ecological function of the old growth trees and their place in the history of the City of Penrith is under threat. It need not be this way. A solution can be achieved if RMS and residents ‘bite the bullet’ now.

Riverstone Wetlands – A Destructive Precinct Plan

The Marsden Park North Precinct Plan was recently on exhibition. The precinct includes the Riverstone Wetlands. Submissions via closed on 19 October 2018.

A brochure presenting the values of Riverstone Wetlands and the threat they face from the NSW Government acquiescing to property investment speculators can be found here

Adding to earlier concerns it is now revealed that the wetlands are habitat for a population of Green and Golden Bell Frogs, a species of frog listed as “Vulnerable” in the NSW BC Act and the Commonwealth EPBC Act.

In an exercise guaranteed to destroy hope of continued survival of the Green and Golden Bell Frog population and extinguish altogether Riverstone being an annual destination and foraging for international shore birds the government is proposing to construct some sort of ‘wetland’ in the floodplain of South Creek to relocate the frogs and guess that the migratory shore birds will relocate themselves to the newly constructed ‘wetland’.

This strategy of the government is an obeisance to development interests, a craven pursuit of development dollars through the blade of bulldozers and all this ahead of environmental sensitivity.

This is an environmental fail in either of the short term or long term because, even if the frogs and birds attempt to oblige, the proposed ‘new wetland’ on the floodplain of South Creek will expose the frogs and birds to the destructive effects of the ‘introduced’ fish species Gambusia which inhabit South Creek. Add to that the threat of the frog population being washed away from the current of a flood breached South Creek so often experienced with heavy rain inundations and we are left to deplore the degradation of what passes for governmental decision making in the 21st Century.

No, no, no! A thousand times no!

This is a bad outcome for the environment of Riverstone and the Greater West of Sydney. Please make your concerns heard by Kevin Conolly MP, Member for Riverstone via email or in person if you see him somewhere.

Hereunder are pages of the aforementioned brochure prepared by community members aware of the worth of the Riverstone Wetlands:

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