26 June 2023

Mass tree planting plan to honour dedicated late Wollongong Councillor Vicky King

| Jen White
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Former Wollongong Councillor Vicky King

The late Wollongong City Councillor Vicky King. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

A former Wollongong City Councillor regarded as a trailblazer for women and a passionate environmental advocate will be remembered with the planting of 1000 trees, if a proposal to council is approved on Monday (26 June).

Vicky King served as a councillor for a total of 19 years over two periods, from 1987 to 2004 and from 2017 until her sudden passing in February 2020. She is remembered as a strong advocate for Wollongong, particularly the southern suburbs, and as an active and committed community leader supporting various community organisations.

A report will go to Monday’s council meeting seeking approval to honour Cr King with two dedications, one at Hooka Point in Berkeley this year and another within the future Darkes Town Centre sports and community hub.

The council report said recognition for Cr King at Hook Point was appropriate as she lived in Berkeley and was remembered as a strong advocate for the protection of the environment.

READ ALSO Council plans changes to walking, cycling and driving around coastal hot spots

Over the past 30 years, bushcare volunteers have helped to transform Hooka Creek from bare paddocks to a lush natural area, planting and tending to 20,000 plants.

The area now supports endangered ecological plant communities and significant wildlife, and is used heavily by residents for cycling, walking and bird watching.

The dedication will include the planting of 1000 young native trees and shrubs that will form part of the wider natural revegetation works on the site. Cr King’s family, colleagues and members of the community will be invited to take part in the planting.

A lectern-style interpretive sign will be installed at Hooka Point to recognise her contribution to the community. Planting is expected to start in spring this year.

The council report also proposes to honour Cr King with a formal avenue of trees and signage when the Darkes Town Centre sports and community hub is established.

Cr King’s husband Charlie and her children were asked for their preference for a dedication and support the two plans to go to council.

During her time on council, Cr King served on the Aboriginal Reference Group, Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee, Illawarra Sports Stadium Trust, Illawarra Regional Organisation of Councils, Illawarra County Council, the Planning and Development Committee, and the Australian Local Government Women’s Association, among others.

READ ALSO The tiny forests shooting up in Wollongong suburbs

Former Cunningham MP Sharon Bird paid tribute to Cr King in a speech to Federal Parliament after her sudden death.

“She was a trailblazer not only for women but also for mums in public life, and that was a groundbreaking action.

“We were so proud of the work she was doing on council and her work in many community organisations that she’d been involved with, always standing up for somebody who wasn’t able to stand up for themselves.

“Vicky was a tigress if she got onto your cause and campaign. She absolutely was motivated to stand up for people who couldn’t do that for themselves. She made us very proud and she’ll be terribly, terribly missed.”

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