3 November 2023

Remembering Vicky King: A thousand trees planted to honour a passionate and determined community leader

| Keeli Royle
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Charlie Habazin and Gordon Bradbery unveiling the plaque in honour of Councillor Vicky King.

Vicky King’s husband Charlie Habazin and Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery unveiled the plaque in her honour. Photos: Keeli Royle.

Vicky King’s legacy of being a passionate public servant who put her community first will continue to grow and bloom with 1000 trees planted at Berkeley in her memory.

The late Wollongong Councillor was remembered at a commemorative ceremony for her unwavering determination and the mass tree planting in her home patch of Hooka Point Park served as a fitting tribute, as environmental restoration around Lake Illawarra and recognition of our First Nations people were among the many causes she supported.

Her husband Charlie Habazin said it was that passion that caught his eye when he first met Vicky in 1987.

“What drew me to her is that she was a woman on a mission, her mission was to help support her local community and her family,” he told the crowd of Vicky’s family, friends and colleagues.

“Despite copious amounts of negativity through her tenure including bricks through the window of the window of her car and death threats, she never gave up.”

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

He told Region that same drive for change was reflected in everything she did.

“She was like a tenacious bulldog with a bone,” Charlie said. “Once she started on something she just wouldn’t finish until it was done her way.”

But it was equally her love and kindness that she will be remembered for.

“She was a woman that never left anyone behind,” Charlie said.

“If she saw anyone, it doesn’t matter who it was, even someone she didn’t know, if someone came to her and asked for her help she would go all the way out to help them.”

Charlie Habazin and Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery planting tree.

1000 trees are being planted at Hooka Point Park to honour the late councillor.

“She was like that with everything, with family especially.”

“She’d never ever let anybody have to go through something alone, that was her best attribute.”

Vicky King served as a councillor for an incredible 19 years, from 1987 to 2004 and again from 2017 until her sudden passing in 2020.

“Vicky was totally engaged and totally committed to the southern suburbs of Wollongong and much has been achieved over time because of her,” Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.

“It’s not just being a councillor that turns up at a meeting but all the other commitments that you make with community organisations as well and the time that you put into dealing with ratepayers’ concerns.”

Vicky King Plaque and people planting trees.

Vicky King’s family, friends and colleagues paid their respects at the commemorative ceremony.

She represented more than 13 community organisations including the Aboriginal Reference Group, Lake Illawarra Authority and the Illawarra Housing Trust, which she was investing in wholeheartedly.

“Vicky was more than an activist,” Cr Bradbery said. “Activists tend to just focus on one issue; the things that she backed were based on human rights, deeper more significant issues and challenges that confront humanity.”

“It wasn’t that it was just a whim or a political or popular choice, she would dig her heels in and go for it and often would remind us as such.”

READ ALSO Koonawarra kids create Wollongong’s first ‘Koala Food Forest’ to help save our iconic marsupial population

The native trees that Vicky King’s family and friends helped council staff plant will help honour her contribution to the community. A plaque was also installed at the park so visitors can learn more about her impact and mission to improve the lives of those in her community.

“We were always planting trees wherever we lived,” Charlie said. “I think she’ll be remembered for her passions and this would be one of them.”

Another avenue of trees and interpretive signage is planned for West Dapto at a later date.

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