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A Perth man has been living in a eucalyptus tree in his front yard for the past three days in an effort to stop the giant tree being cut down by the local council.

Thornlie resident Richard Pennicuik said he felt like he had no choice but to protest against a decision by the City of Gosnells to remove more than 20 native trees from his street over the next week. He said he would not be leaving until the tree was saved.

City of Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie said council would be removing the tree and hoped to come to an “amicable” resolution with Mr Pennicuik.

But he said the city would not try to remove him from his tree.

The tree removal program follows a city survey last year which identified 22 potentially dangerous trees in Hume Road, mainly because of falling branches.

The natives will be replaced by 35 jacarandas. Further along Mr Pennicuik’s street, workers have been busy removing the remaining tall eucalypts.

Mr Pennicuik had been living uncomfortably in the tree since early Monday morning and had struggled to sleep throughout his protest. Neighbours and friends have been supporting him, bringing food, water and other items.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

“I feel as I’ve been backed into this situation. All I want is this tree,” Mr Pennicuik said.

“I don’t mind if other people want their trees cut down,” Mr Pennicuik said. “But I won’t back down.”

Mr Cowie said the city would try to reason with Mr Pennicuik over the next few days but would not force him from the tree or endanger his safety.

“Inappropriate trees were planted 40 years ago, trees which are beautiful in the Australian bush which are beautiful in parkland but aren’t suited for an urban environment and the city can’t live with the risk,” he said.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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In his first interview since he miraculously survived almost two weeks lost amid freezing temperatures in Sydney’s Blue Mountains, the 19-year-old from north London, who was found by bushwalkers last Wednesday, also denied his story was a hoax.

“I was thinking I might die on that mountain,” he told the 60 Minutes current affairs television program in Australia in an interview for which he was paid an estimated $200,000 (£100,000).

“I had actually written some goodbye notes and things to my family saying, my last walk, saying sorry, explaining how I’d got lost and different things like that.

“I’m not a particularly religious person but I started thinking about God and I was praying and saying, ‘Surely you can move a helicopter an inch and find me,’ and ‘Why won’t you just help me?’”

Mr Neale returned to the location of his near-fatal bushwalk with the television crew after being released from hospital in Katoomba on Friday.

He posed for photos at the Narrow Neck Plateau near Katoomba where he had been discovered last Wednesday by bushwalkers, and was then flown over the Blue Mountains by helicopter.

He said he had lost the notepad with his goodbye letters, and his digital camera, while trying to get out of the dense bushland.

His incredible tale of survival – where he endured 12 nights in freezing temperatures, eating kangaroo berries and geebung weed, and drinking from local streams – has attracted many sceptics questioning the veracity of his story.

However Mr Neale remains adamant that he became lost after getting disorientated by the sun, and dismissed talk his disappearance was a hoax or a stunt to make money.

“I know what happened, and I know the people who were out searching for me,” he said in the interview, which was set to air in Australia on Sunday night and will be broadcast in the UK on Sky.

“They know that it happened and that’s good enough for me. People can say what they want because I’m not lying. It’s the truth.”

Mr Neale and his father Richard Cass hosted drinks in Katoomba on Friday night for some of the scores of volunteers who searched the rugged bushland looking for the lost backpacker.

Mr Cass, who had flown to Australia from the family home in London to help search for his son, returned to England on Saturday.

Mr Neale will now travel by train to Perth to stay with relatives as he cannot fly for eight weeks due to air bubbles on his lungs.

Source  :  www.timesonline.co.uk

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