Callum Brae Nature Reserve

Callum Brae Nature Reserve (Narrabundah Lane, Symonston, in Canberra’s Inner South) is a very special place.

Callum Brae protects Yellow Box and Blakely  Red Gum trees which are on the Extremely Endangered list as well as grassy woodland.  Many species of birds, some of which are rarely sighted such as the swift parrot and the gang gang cockatoo have been seen in Callum Brae. Callum Brae is a well known location for birdwatching.  We visit and enjoy Callum Brae Nature Reserve regularly.

Callum Brae Nature Reserve is under severe threat by a proposed large crematorium and cemetery infrastructure on the boundary of Callum Brae Nature Reserve.  This commercial development proposal is inappropriate, unnecessary and damaging to the environment.

Callum Brae Nature Reserve will be overwhelmed by the proposed huge Crematorium development on its border.

Make a submission TODAY against this development application amendment.

Deadline for comments 31 May 2022   

Make a submission website:


Or go to 

Choose Development Applications open for Public Comment.

Search SYMONSTON Development Application: 202138789

Address: 99 MUGGA LANE

Thank you.

The Trees

Dedicated to the trees of Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra, Australia which are under threat from a proposed crematorium complex

For me

It’s the trees

The gum trees

They welcomed me

To this land

When no one else did

Where are you from?

What’s that accent?

Go back to where you came from

But where is that
where did I come from

So many places and spaces

And peoples

And struggles

And protests

And learning

And sharing

Go back to where you came from

Embrace them all

And I do

When I stop

And stare at a gum tree

I know you

You know me

I embrace you

I look up to you

I admire you

Your colours your shapes

Each tree unique

Yet grounded in the same soil

Gum trees are elsewhere

Where I’ve lived


Seen as a threat

Live through the dry

Can catch fire

Gum trees in California

all look the same

Is it because they were torn

Out of their original home

in Kenya

Gum trees all look the same

But in Australia

Each one different







Shaggy bark

Smooth bark

Scribbly bark

When in doubt

Where you are

Do you belong

Look at a gum tree

Admire their shape

Their tenacity

Their survival through fire

Walk up to the tree

Look up to the tree

Embrace the tree

Then you will know that

You are alive

You belong

You are the tree

One day I will be a tree

Or perhaps I always was

I try to write

To paint

To sketch

A gum tree

Or a forest

I have not yet captured

Their essence

On paper

Sydney Nolan

Captured the essence

Of gum tree forests

Yet he had to have

Ned Kelly

Hiding within

Behind the trees

What is the relationship

Of Ned Kelly to gum trees?

What about the wombat hole

And the dead soldier who fell in

What does this say about the settlers

The colonialists relationship to the land?

Was it Ned Kelly who opposed them?

Was it the land itself

that could not be

Completely conquered?

I see the gum trees daily

I think of them daily

I embrace them daily

This is what keeps me going

When denied by society

The trees are still there

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