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A tiny forest is being planted at Blackall Park, and you can have a tree named after you

A tiny forest is being planted at Blackall Park, and you can have a tree named after you

A like-minded group of Queanbeyan residents is working toward creating Queanbeyan’s first ‘micro forest’, a community space based on a dense planting model, that’s self-sustaining and encourages residents to engage with natural outdoor spaces. 

Blackall Park in West Queanbeyan has been approved as the site for the city’s first micro forest, and the group plans to transform the under-utilised space into a mini ecosystem of trees, shrubs, climbers and ground-covers made up from around 1,500 beautiful, climate-resilient native plants.

“We met with the council and told them what our idea was, and they were really supportive from the get-go,” co-organiser Rebecca Gredley-Porteous says.


“The council aims to plant 1,000 plants per year, so this would definitely help with that. They created an urban heat map as well, which showed that most of the council area is an urban heat island.”

The space in Blackall Park, Blackall Avenue approved to be transformed in a micro forest and community hub.

Drawing inspiration from successful micro forest campaigns in the ACT, Queanbeyan locals Mitch Porteous and Rebecca Gredley-Porteous are leading the project but want everyone in Queanbeyan to be part of it and feel connected to the forest. 

“These small parklets can help reduce urban heat, it’s a combination of dense planting that can do that, but also encouraging native wildlife and incorporating nature play,” Mitch says.

“It’s about creating more of those natural spaces for kids to hang out in and play with dirt and rocks, and hang out with each other in, and then also create gathering spaces for adults and events.”

A draft plan has been created by the project’s landscape architect Edwina Robinson. It features pollinator patches, seating rocks and a dry creek bed for capturing water. Currently overseeing a project in Moruya, this will be only the second micro forest Edwina has designed for a New South Wales space. 

The first concept design of the micro forest by Edwina Robinson.

The group will hold consultation sessions in winter, seeking feedback from the Queanbeyan community about what they want to see from the space and how they envision the micro forest being utilised.


“How this is configured and the priorities will all depend on the neighbourhood, whether they really want to prioritise nature play or biodiversity or a sensory garden, bush tucker or whatever it may be,” Mitch says.

The Queanbeyan Micro Forest team will be featured on television program Gardening Australia later this month to talk about the micro forest movement. Rebecca Gredley- Porteous says there is so much more involved than just planting a few trees.

“Water harvesting and excavation is a big part of it, we don’t just dig the holes and then put the plants in,” she says.

“We’ll do big excavation work laying rocks and soil so it captures water when it rains, so it’s less reliant on us watering it, which is really good for the long term and a big part of the forests … the planting is really dense planting, and the whole idea behind that is that the plants have to compete for the nutrients, so then they grow they faster and then they’re meant to be self-sustaining after around three years.”

A fundraiser for the micro forest hosted by Terry Campese will be held at Hotel Queanbeyan on 5 May. At least five large trees being planted in the forest will be auctioned off during the fundraiser, with the successful buyer able to name the tree after their family or their business. There will also be a unique raffle and auction items on the night, including a dove flock release. 

“The model is that the forest will be totally crowdfunded so that it has that independence and agency to get stuff done,” Mitch says.

“Raising $20,000 will fund the essentials – the master plan, earthworks, irrigation, and plants. You’re invited to participate at every stage, from design, to planting, and maintenance.

Increasing property value to homeowners in the area, and increasing that sense of community, creating a space that’s safe for kids, even alone if it inspires others to do it around Queanbeyan it would relieve pressure off council and just make things happen, which would be nice.”

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About the Author: Holly Winchester

Part Jennifer Coolidge, part Jennifer Garner (gaudy and geeky), Holly idolises Dolly Parton and Princess Di and loves NRL. When she's not creating killer content, you’ll find Holly at the Maccas drive thru getting her chai latte fix or buying 1990s memorabilia for the walls of her Googong home. Specialist subject: the Woolies carpark.