Lorrie Graham is one of Australia's most eminent photojournalists and a long-time Newtown resident. She's been documenting the impact of the WestCONnex tollway and the community campaign against it for almost two years. She explains why she got involved ahead of her upcoming exhibition, Save Sydney Park: Adopt a Tree, this weekend.
I’ve been documenting the Stop WestCONnex campaign since early 2015, when I first became aware of the devastating impact this tollway would have on our communities. Later that year, my husband Greg and I started a group called Save Newtown from WestCONnex.
One of the things that truly horrifies me about WestCONnex is its planned destruction of Sydney Park, which has become the heart of our area. WestCONnex will slice a 12m strip from the park and over 1,000 trees in and around the park.
This truly breaks my heart, because I know how much Sydney Park matters to our quality of life. This is a medium to high density environment. That makes the park a vital green lung for families, dog owners, and anyone in the inner west who just wants to sit on a patch of grass, surrounded by trees.
Our group thought we had to let people know what was about to happen. So we found some recycled material in the same colour as the WestCONnex branding and began to the wrap the condemned trees in and around Sydney Park. We let people know that if you see a blue ribbon, that tree is dead, gone, destroyed unless we take action to stop WestCONnex.
This exhibition is a way to reach out to people who may not be aware of WestCONnex’s planned destruction, and let them know how much we will all lose if it goes ahead.
All images ©lorrie graham photographer.
The Save Sydney Park: Adopt a Tree exhibition will run from Friday 11 November to Sunday 13 November at The Corner Gallery, Stanmore. Lorrie will be speaking about her work with other featured artists at the official reception on Saturday 12 November. For more information and to RSVP, see the exhibition's event page.