Last year, St Lucia residents, Miriam Prystupa and Elizabeth Hirst supported by the St Lucia Community Association, initiated Bows 4 Boughs, a project they hoped would bring attention to some of the beautiful trees in their neighbourhood.

Long walks during COVID lockdowns brought the increasingly rapid clearing of trees and vegetation on lots marked/deemed for subdivision to their attention. It wasn’t long before the local community became curious and started talking about the Yellow Bows appearing on trees … “we thought this would be a simple way to draw attention to and at the same time celebrate the trees we have in our neighbourhood”

Miriam and Elizabeth designed the project to draw attention to the precious trees in our communities. St Lucia, like West End, is experiencing a lot of tree loss, so the group has attached yellow bows to trees to make people look twice and help them appreciate what an incredible asset the trees are. 

Since then, the Bows for Bough team has organised two tree walks – the “Links Trail” and the “Guyatt Park Trail“. I attended the Guyatt Park walk led by local botanist Rob Price. Rob told us the distressing story of a 290-400-year-old tallow tree removed by developers in Toowong. He also talked about the history of species, both endemic and invasive. For example, he estimated that a grand eucalypt on the park’s edge near the river started growing around Shakespeare’s death and well before colonisation. 

Learning about our trees in this way helps us identify with them, and the group hopes it will motivate us to fight to protect them.

In an update this month, John Brannock from St Lucia Community Association Inc, said that people are definitely noticing the yellow bows.

“We have heard so many stories from people about the St Lucia walks and the trees. Of special significance has been the 400-year-old river red gum on Central Avenue near Ironside shops. The information about this tree, posted in the window of Briki Café, has generated a lot of interest and discussion. Currently, there are Rainbow Lorikeets nesting in a hollow.”

Mr Brannock said Rob Price had also generously given his time to conduct a workshop at UQ on the process of preparing and submitting Vegetation Protection Orders 

“The idea being that we may assist others in submitting VPOs in the future.”

At the St Lucia Day festival, held at Guyatt Park in early December, the groups were able to have positive conversations with people about the project. 

Plans for this year are well advanced. 

“A walk has already been scoped and trees identified for the “Ironside Trail” that will lead people along Guilfoyle Street, through Ironside Park – a hidden gem! Later in the year, a tree walk exploring the easements in St Lucia is planned.”

Mr Brannock said the group is grateful for the funding received: a grant from Michael Berkman’s office and a private donation from Brad Bishopp, “both of which have enabled us to produce high-quality fliers to letterbox drop in the neighbourhood (over 4000), and the materials and labels for the bows.” Local councillor James McKay also supported the St Lucy Day Festival at Guyatt Park.

Michael Berkman MP told the Westender he is very impressed by the St Lucia Community Association’s subtle but effective activism to protect trees on public land.

“Which is why I was very happy to support their work. 

“Council regularly lets developers evade requirements for deep-planted trees, and many developments like private homes and townhouses are exempt from those rules altogether. 

Several grand eucalyptus in the park are earmarked for removal if the green bridge from Guyatt Park goes ahead. The group has actively campaigned against a bridge landing in the park. 

The Westender asked Mr Berkman about his position on the Guyett Park to West End Green Bridge. He said he supports the Toowong – West End Green Bridge and the now-delayed St Lucia – West End Green Bridge, including the possibility of a “two bridges” solution to the UQ to Toowong cycling black spot. 

“Based on both Council’s consultation and my own volunteer-run doorknocking survey, locals support both bridges as well. 

“I have argued for a landing point further east, at or near the end of Laurence St, which would minimise disruption and loss of amenity in Guyatt Park. 

“I also believe Council should expand Guyatt Park, including by closing the very end of Macquarie St and purchasing the vacant lots at 23-25 Macquarie St and 170 Sir Fred Schonell Drive.”

We have wondered if any of our local community groups have considered joining with St Lucia to extend this project across the river to Orleigh Park and other areas of West End.


The loss of our urban green spaces may cost us more than we think