Sustainability

The City of Unley is committed to pursuing, supporting and creating an environment that will sustain both current and future generations. We are committed to using fewer of our precious resources and looking for smarter ways to achieve this objective.

Landscapes

Before European settlement, the Kaurna people, depended on the Willa willa - or the winding creeks lined with Red Gum - for their food, shelter and water. Today many creeks have been altered through engineering to control the flooding of nearby homes. Approximately 90% of our creeks run through private property and there is an opportunity for land owners to improve their stretch of creek to create habitat for local wildlife and improve water quality.

A Property Owner's Guide to Managing Healthy Urban Creeks is available free from the Council. Phone 8372 5111 for a copy or download it here. The City of Unley has undertaken revegetation of creek-lines in Ridge Park, Forestville Reserve and Glen Osmond Creek
 
Property owners guide to managing healthy urban creeks
  • Patawalonga Catchment
    The Patawalonga Creek was once connected to the Torrens River and Port River through the reed bed system bounded on the west by a wall of sand dunes and to the east of wetlands. Over time there have been many structural modifications resulting in a greatly altered ecosystem and landscape prone to flooding and pollution problems.

    The Patawalonga Catchment covers 235 square km and takes in parts of the City of Adelaide, the eastern, western and southern suburbs and a portion of the southern Adelaide Hills. There are six sub catchments or surface drainage systems, the two in Unley and Brown Hill Creek and Keswick Creek.

     
  • Brown Hill Creek Catchment
    Brown Hill Creek drains an area approximately 36 square km. The creek rises near Stirling in steep country which, although not urbanised, has been largely cleared. The rural catchment contains Brown Hill Creek Recreation Park. Within the urban area, the catchment is defined by council drainage systems. In Unley, Brown Hill Creek has retained a natural flow path and has a number of linear parks along its banks and for significant lengths is in private property.
  • Keswick Creek Catchment
    Keswick Creek drains approximately 31 square km and has two main tributaries, Glen Osmond and Parklands Creeks, both of which contain some rural catchment. The catchment of Glen Osmond Creek includes a significant part of the Southern Eastern Freeway while the Parklands Creek drains part of the southern section of the City of Adelaide.

    In Unley, Glen Osmond and Parklands Creek are both highly engineered and in many reaches have been confined to concrete culverts for flood mitigation purposes.

Biodiversity

Residents are encouraged to consider planting species that are native to Unley in their gardens to help to preserve wildlife and rebuild important natural relationships that existed in the bush land of the original Black Forest.

  • 'Kertaweeta' - The Black Forest
    Locally, Indigenous plants are easy to establish as they have already adapted to the local soil, rainfall and temperature. They are also easy to maintain as they require little pruning or fertilising. Importantly, local Indigenous plants require very little watering once established.

    'Kertaweeta' - The Black Forest
    The area known by Kaurna as Kertaweeta (scrub with reeds) extended from the eastern foothill suburbs of Burnside, Erindale, Beaumont, Glen Osmond, south-west through to Urrbrae, Malvern, Mitcham, Unley, Goodwood, Wayville, South Adelaide, Black Forest, Hyde Park, Clarence Park, Plympton, Edwardstown, St Marys and the River Sturt near Marion.


    The name 'Black Forest' is reputed to have been given as a result of the dark coloured tree bark and thick dark green foliage.

    The Urban Forest Biodiversity Program reports that grazing, agriculture, horticulture, residential development and industry have progressively all but replaced the unique flora and fauna of the Adelaide Plains. Less than 2% of the original habitat is left intact and remaining native plants and animals are finding it increasingly difficult to survive.

    Individual trees from the original Black Forest still exist within the City of Unley but only one remaining strand of grey-box woodland can be found in Heywood Park at Northgate Street, Unley Park.

    Information for this article has been sourced from a book by local Millswood resident, Darrell Kraehenbuehl 'Pre-European Vegetation of Adelaide: A Survey from the Gawler River to Hallett Cove' (1996).

    Adelaide Gardens Planting Guide
  • Clarence Park Biodiversity Garden
    Although not a replica of the original Black Forest, the Clarence Park Biodiversity Garden features local native plants that would have been found in the original Black Forest.

    As only 2% of original vegetation remains on the Adelaide Plains, this garden is of significant importance and acts as a genetic material repository for local Indigenous plants.

    The garden is not intended to be a miniature replication of the original Black Forest but rather a demonstration garden that uses local native Indigenous plants, which can be appreciated by the community. A variety of 30-40 plants of different size, colour and movement have been chosen that can be planted in most home gardens. Visit our Biodiversity page for further information on Unley's Native Plants.

    The garden's other environmental features include a rainwater tank and photovoltaic cells.

    The 900L rainwater tank captures water from the roof and its overflow goes into the garden and the aquifer system. The tank's water is used to flush to toilets which are gravity fed. The use of tanks has the potential to save approximately 28% (22kL) of mains water used per year.

    Water saving devices at the Clarence Park Community Centre include a AAA tap aerator which has reduced tap flow to 9L per minute, Aqualoc tap washers which has reduced tap flow to 6L a minute and a timing device for the kitchen water heater so it only heats when there is a demand for the water.

    The Clarence Park Community Centre also has three solar (photovoltaic) cells.
     
    Photovoltaic Cells
    • The 1440 watt grid connected system provides enough electricity to power the house next door with 2500 kWh per year, an estimated saving of $300 per year and two tonnes per year of carbon dioxide.
    • Over the Christmas break when the centre is not open, the electricity meter turns anticlockwise or backwards where electricity is put back into the national electricity grid system

    Three solar cells were installed and funded by the City of Unley and the Australian Greenhouse Office.
  • Windsor Street Linear Reserve
    Many of the plants and trees have been grown from collected seed and cuttings, which has enabled them to be replaced in areas where they would naturally have been found.

    Of the estimated 725 species of plants originally found in the City of Unley, 140 are now extinct and 393 are rare or threatened. The Windsor Street Linear Reserve is an opportunity to assist in addressing the loss of these plants.

    Visit our Native Plants page for a list of Unley's Native Plants.

    Plants at the Windsor Street Linear Reserve include:
    • Austral Trefoil (Lotus australis)
    • Button Everlasting (Helichrysum scopiodes)
    • Common Vanilla-lily (Arthropodium strictum)
    • Elegant Spear Grass (Austrostipa elegantissima)
    • Finger Rush (Juncus subsecundus)
    • Goodenia (Goodenia amplexans)
    • Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa)
    • Hop-bush Wattle (Acacia dodonaifolia)
    • Knobby Club Rush (Isolepsis nodosa)
    • Native Buttercup (Ranunculus lappaceus)
    • Native Lilac (Hardenbergia violacea)
    • Pale Rush (Juncus pallidus)
    • Round leafed wattle (Acacia acinacae)
    • Running Postman (Kennedia prostrata)
    • Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)
    • Tall Blue Bell (Wahlenbergia stricta)

Sustainable Unley

The Environmental Sustainability Strategy guides Council’s direction and priorities in implementing greening goals identified in its Community Plan 2033.

The Strategy is divided into five themes:
Green Unley: improving and maintaining Unley’s Urban Forest
Waterwise Unley: efficient, effective and sustainable water management
Resilient Unley: increasing resilience for changes in climate
Resourceful Unley: excellence in waste management through diversion, avoidance and re-use
Energywise Unley: increasing the energy efficiency of the City.
  • Green Unley

    Improving and maintaining Unley’s Urban Forest


    The City of Unley is an urban environment noted for its tree-lined streets, parks and private gardens. The protection of Unley’s trees and street trees is particularly important to mitigating the impacts of climate, the urban heat island effect and a range of other benefits. This work is guided in detail by the City of Unley Tree Strategy.
     
    There is also an excellent opportunity for more verges to be planted. Most are currently dolomite which is not water permeable. If these are replaced with loam and low plantings or with lawn maintained by residents, it will help improve soil moisture, reflected heat and add to the cool, green feel of the City. 

    Ongoing work in parks, reserves, residential gardens and the encouragement of local food production is still underway.

    Key initiatives that fall under this theme include:

    • Trees
    • Habitat boxes
    • Verge gardening by residents
    • Biodiversity native plantings
    • Maintenance of parks and open space
    • Encouragement of private plantings
    • Food security including encouraging local food production
    • Community gardens at Fern Avenue, the Goody Patch and Morrie Harrell Reserve.
  • Waterwise Unley

    Efficient, effective and sustainable water management

     

    The City of Unley is committed to have water sensitive urban design as a feature and reducing its dependency on River Murray water, while also maintaining its parks, reserves and street trees. Rain gardens and other Water Sensitive Urban Design measures are important to both conserve water and improve water quality by reducing stormwater pollution.

    There has been excellent progress in recent years to waterproof the City, by providing recycled water options to most of its parks and reserves through the Glenelg to Adelaide Parklands Recycled Water Project (GAP) and Managed Aquifer Recharge schemes (MAR).

    There are a range of Waterwise actions you can take such as installing rainwater tanks, selecting water wise plants, mulch and wicking beds, and taking shorter showers.

    Key initiatives that fall under this theme include:

    • Water Sensitive Urban Design (for example, diversions for watering street trees, rain gardens and permeable paving)
    • Continue expansion of MAR and GAP networks and the use of their recycled water
    • Reducing water use, planting water wise plants, capture and reuse of water
    • Waterproofing parks and gardens
  • Resilient Unley

    Increasing resilience to changes in climate


    The City of Unley has partnered with the other Eastern Region Alliance (ERA) Councils and Adelaide City Council to develop a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the eastern region called Resilient East.

    The plan outlines key vulnerabilities to climate change across the eastern region and a range of adaptation decision making and planning options at a regional and individual Council level.

    For The City of Unley key vulnerabilities are anticipated from increased heatwave frequency and duration and more intense periods of rainfall. Resilient East provides a number of preferred options for the eastern region to increase our resilience to climate change.

    Key initiatives that fall under this theme include:
  • Resourceful Unley

    Excellence in waste management, through diversion, avoidance and re-use


    The City of Unley is committed to reducing waste, from both its own operations and the community, and to the management of waste in a sustainable manner. Council offers several options for recycling and waste disposal including kerbside collections, hard rubbish collections and a range of other services and education programs to support our community.

    This work is guided by the Waste Management Strategy 2013-2017 which includes activities to provide innovative and responsive waste management practices that promote recycling and reduce waste. It incorporates best management practices to manage the waste collected by Council.

    Key initiatives that fall under this theme include:

    • Domestic Waste – education, re-use, organics, hard rubbish
    • Commercial Waste – organics, recycle construction
    • Council leader in waste management – alternate recycling, operations, our usage
  • Energywise Unley

    Increasing the energy efficiency of the City


    Our modern Australian lifestyle is very energy intensive. We have become high electricity users. Our homes, which are now larger, commonly contain air-conditioning and many electrical appliances which rely heavily on fossil fuels that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Electricity prices have increased over the last few years, resulting in increased operation expenses.

    By combining reduction of energy usage with uptake of renewable sources, we can make a big difference in reducing electricity consumption, reduce carbon footprint, contribute to climate change mitigation and reduce risk against future electricity price rises.

    Key initiatives that fall under this theme include: For lots of ways to reduce your energy bills at home or in your small business, visit the Energy Smart Saver website.
  • Sustainable Resources

Native Plants

The following information on plants native to Unley will assist you in planning your own native garden.
  • Arthropodium strictum (Common Vanilla Lily)
    An attractive herbaceous plant that has delicate pink to purple flowers and an edible tuber. They grow to 1m high and prefer full sun and provide fields of colour in spring.
  • Austrodanthonia Species (Leafy Wallaby-grass)
    A hardy plant that was once widespread across the Adelaide Plains. All Austrodanthonias are small to medium tussock plants with some flower stems reaching 1m high. The flower heads are green and white and as they mature they turn golden brown and fluffy. Wallaby grass readily reproduces by seed.
  • Austrostipa curticoma (Short-crest Spear-grass)
    A delicate ornamental grass for any feature location in your garden. Growing to approximately 1m high, this grass prefers a full sun position but will grow in light shade.
  • Austrostipa elegantisima (Feather Speargrass)
    A delicate ornamental grass for any feature location in your garden. Growing to approximately 1m high this grass prefers a full sun position but will grow in light shade.
  • Billardiera cymosa (Sweet Apple Berry)
    A non-aggressive climbing plant with blue to white flowers in spring. Growing to approximately 60cm high without support this evergreen plant will grow in light shade or full sun.
  • Bracteantha bracteata (Golden Everlasting)
    An attractive plant that grows to half a metre high This herbaceous plant requires full sun where it will produce distinctive yellow flowers in spring. The seeds are dispersed by small birds, insects and ants.
  • Bulbine bulbosa (Bulbine Lily)
    An attractive herbaceous plant with yellow star shaped flowers growing to approximately 30cm tall. Preferring either full sun or light dappled shade the Bulbine-lily is a very ornamental plant for your garden.
     
  • Callitris gracilis (syn. Callitris preissii) (Southern Cypress Pine)
    A medium size conifer like evergreen tree growing to approximately 5-12m high. The Southern Cypress Pine is conical in shape and grows to approximately 3-4m. It is ideal for use as an ornamental specimen tree and its timber was valued for its straight trunk and termite resistant wood. Several species of parrot seek the maturing fruits.
  • Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Common Everlasting)
    An evergreen plant standing approximately half a metre tall. The small yellow flowers are supported by attractive soft silvery foliage. The Common Everlasting prefers full sun. Seeds of this plant are dispersed by ants and other insects.
  • Chrysocephalum semipapposum (Clustered Everlasting)
    A small herb to 60cm high with fine soft grey blue leaves. Preferring a full sun position the Clustered Everlasting is a spectacular foliage plant bearing cluster of enduring yellow flowers. Larvae of the Painted lady butterfly use this plant as food.
     
  • Cullen australasicum (Tall Scurf-pea)
    Found growing from the coast to the Adelaide Hills. Preferring full sun this plant grows to 1.5m high is a food source for the larvae of several native butterflies such as the Chequered Swallow Tail. The Tall Scurf-pea responds well to pruning which enhances the display of brilliant purple flowers.
     
  • Dianella brevicaulis (Short-stem Flax-lily)
    A highly attractive clumping plant to half a metre high. The delicate flowers are light blue and yellow. This evergreen plant prefers a sunny location but will grow in light shade.
  • Dianella longifolia var. grandis (Pale Flax-lily)
    A highly attractive clumping plant to 50cm high. This evergreen plant prefers a sunny location but will grow in light shade. The delicate flowers are light blue and yellow.
  • Disphyma crassifolium ssp. clavellatum (Round-leaf Pigface)
    A dense ground cover plant with succulent fleshy foliage. Preferring a full sun position this plant bears large highly ornamental pink flowers in spring and summer and spreads to approximately 1m
  • Enneapogon nigricans (Black-head Grass)
    A small grass growing to approximately 50cm high. This ornamental grass produces masses of black heads in spring.
     
  • Eutaxia diffusa (Large-leaf Eutaxia)
    A small shrub growing to less than 1m high. Preferring full sun this plant bears masses of attractive bright clear yellow pea flowers in winter and spring. Once widespread across the Adelaide Plains the remaining plants are a food source for the larvae of the Common Grass Blue and Fringed Heath Blue butterflies.
     
  • Goodenia albiflora (White Goodenia)
    A perennial low growing spreading plant bearing white flowers for most of the year. It is an ideal ground cover plant for a sunny to part shade position in your garden.
  • Goodenia amplexans (Clasping Goodenia)
    An evergreen shrub growing to approximately 1m high. The Clasping Goodenia prefers full sun and bears highly attractive yellow flowers in spring.
  • Helichrysum scorpioides (Button Everlasting)
    A small plant to half a metre high. Preferring full sun this herbaceous plant bears masses of yellow 'button' flowers in spring that can be cut for a dried floral arrangement.
  • Hibbertia sericea (Silky Guinea Flower)
    An evergreen small ground cover plant growing to 30cm high and 1m wide. The Silky Guinea-flower bears bright yellow flowers and prefers full sun but will grow in light dappled shade.
  • Juncus pallidus (Pale Rush)
    An evergreen clumping plant that grows to approximately 1.5-2m high. Pale Rush prefers a moist site with full sun. Stems are limey green and flower spikes are borne at the tip of the stems. This easy to grow plant can be used to help restore creek lines, screening or can be used as a focal point in the garden.
  • Juncus subsecundus (Finger Rush)
    An evergreen attractive sedge with blue green stems and leaves. Growing to approximately 1m in height Finger Rush is an ideal plant for growing in wet or boggy sites and forms a dense mass when planted in groups. Alternatively, this plant can be grown in dry conditions where it still performs equally well.
  • Kennedia prostrata (Scarlet Runner)
    A hardy evergreen ground cover plant that spreads to approximately 2m. Preferring full sun to part shade masses of red flowers are borne in spring and intermittently at other times of the year. Nodules on the roots of
    these plants convert atmospheric nitrogen into nitrogenous compounds.
  • Linum marginale (Native Flax)
    An erect plant with small blue flowers supported by slender stems to approximately 50cm high. Flowering in spring these perennial plants prefer full sun.
  • Lotus australis (Austral Trefoil)
    An evergreen medium shrub to 1m high. Preferring a location with full sun this plant provides masses of highly ornamental white to pink flowers in spring. The Austral Trefoil is an important plant for biological diversity as it supports a wide range of insects and birds.
  • Pultenaea largiflorens (Twiggy Bush pea)
    An evergreen shrub that grows to 1.5m high. The Twiggy Bush-pea bears masses of yellow pea shaped flowers in late winter to early spring. Preferring a position with full sun and well drained soil this plant is a food source for larvae of the Fringed Blue butterfly. Seeds are dispersed by ants.
  • Ranunculus lappaceus (Native Butter Cup)
    A highly attractive herbaceous plant that grows to approximately 50cm tall. Preferring full sun to shade these plant bear yellow shiny flowers in spring and easily reproduce to make an attractive feature in the garden.
  • Rubus parvifolius (Native Raspberry)
    An evergreen non aggressive scrambling plant. Similar to blackberry but not as aggressive, the Native Rasberry has small bright pink flowers and red fruits. This plant responds well to pruning which encourages increased flowering.
  • Scaevola albida (Pale Fan Flower)
    A showy perennial ground cover plant bearing white flowers October to January and intermittently at other times. Spreading to 1m in width this plant prefers full sun to light shade.
     
  • Senecio quadridentatus (Pale Groundsel)
    An erect perennial plant to approximately 1m high. In summer small yellow flowers are borne in clusters on the end of straggling stems. Pale Groundsel can be grown in full sun or in light shade. This plant can be pruned to promote denser growth and a greater flush of flowers.
  • Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass)
    An ornamental grass that is sought after by grazing native animals. Growing to 1.5m high they prefer full sun and are often found growing on mass providing a striking contrast to other plants.
  • Velleia paradoxa (Spur Velleia)
    A small plant growing to approximately 20cm high. This herbaceous plant prefers an open full sun position and bears attractive yellow flowers in spring and summer.
  • Vittadinia species (New Holland Daisy)
    A small short lived herb growing to less then 40cm high. Preferring full sun the New Holland Daisy bears daisy like flowers that are approximately 1cm across and purple blue in colour. The Native Brachycome is a similar species, which is very rare in Adelaide.
  • Wahlenbergia stricta (Tall Bluebell)
    A semi herbaceous plant that bears striking blue flowers in Spring. Standing approximately 30cm tall, the plants grow in groups and provide a brilliant floral display.