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What do you think when you hear the word ‘development’? Chances are environmental awareness doesn’t spring to mind. Fortunately, life’s good if you’re a Newenham tree. Arborists, scientists, and environmentalists were consulted when Burke Urban developed the masterplan for this beautiful piece of land.

“We have hundreds if not thousands of trees going into Newenham,” says Development Manager John Bannister. “Almost every allotment will have a minimum of one tree within the street verge between the house and the road.” That’s a lot of greenery.

“We were very lucky to purchase one of the best land parcels in Mount Barker,” says John. “We bought land that has a strong country feel with hundreds of existing trees. The stunning Adelaide Hills environment has a natural cohesion and linkage to the existing township of Mount Barker along the Western Flat Creek, which runs through the heart of Newenham. At Burke Urban, we’ve been creating successful residential developments for over 30 years because we’re focused on quality urban design, placemaking and community  development. We look at each new purchase and think: We’ve just bought an asset; how do we protect that asset? How do we add value to it so we can deliver positive returns from both a financial and lifestyle perspective for our investors, future residents and the broader community?”

As expected from this family owned company, Burke Urban worked in close collaboration with Mount Barker District Council and a range of expert consultants such as TreeNet’s David Lawry, who helped devise a plan to keep existing trees safe and make sure they are looked after. David, who works at Adelaide University’s Waite Campus, knows a thing or two about native foliage.

“John first approached me directly at the Annual Tree Symposium held in South Australia in September 2015. They realised the many economic and environmental benefits trees provide to a masterplan development. They were looking for something different and sustainable,” says David.

“Every tree on the site gets reviewed by our arborist,” says John. “Each tree is allocated an individual number and given a health report to determine whether it is worth saving, especially if it is a native species such as a River Redgum.”

“All of the existing trees get identified, numbered and protected. As soon as we start construction near a tree our arborist identifies a zone around that tree where we’re not allowed to use heavy machinery or trenching.”

This meant that more than 98% of the existing trees were saved.

“We take tree protection sites very seriously because we see the value in our trees that are fifty to one-hundred years old,” says John.” It’s very difficult to replace something that nature has spent so long nurturing. We’ve only had to take out very few trees because of the fact they were either an unwanted species or they were in such a state they were not suitable for retention due to safety reasons.” It’s not just about aesthetics.

“Some species just aren’t suitable for residential areas or urban environments,” says John. “They can sit out in a paddock and drop limbs every day of the week and that doesn’t matter (unless you’re a cow). However, when you’re talking about shared pathways, footpaths, houses and things of that nature we become very selective and cautious about the types of trees placed.”

At Newenham, all trees will be treated with tender loving care and a healthy dose of H2O thanks to the aid of a groundbreaking new initiative

 TreeNets patented Inlets combined with Leaky Wells, invented in South Australia by David Lawry, will be installed to make sure this happens in an environmentally friendly way. A leaky well (or soak well as they are sometimes called), is a 350-litre roadside device that captures excess storm water off the road (or from the adjoining roof runoff to the kerb) during a heavy downpour.

“A TreeNet inlet redirects the water off the road into a submerged leaky well,” says John.

“Very close to 100% of the allotments will have a Leaky Well in front of their house,” says John.

“That leaky well can direct up to 350 litres of water into the ground near the tree every time a rain event occurs. That’s 350 litres more than any other street tree in any other sub division would get.”

The benefit? Trees are expected to grow at a much faster rate, their survival rate is higher and their life expectancy is longer.

It’s good news for the environment, residents and tree huggers. David Lawry and his TreeNet team, university researchers and arborists who attend Adelaide’s annual Tree Symposium will continue to track the wellbeing of the Newenham trees, using an App to collect data directly to their mobile devices.

“We were the only developers to attend the Tree Symposium. Developers tend to stay away from these people because they’re usually the ones who lodge a complaint or objection. However, we’re pleased to say we have formed a very good relationship with both David (of TreeNet) and the Mount Barker District Council in relation to working with their arborist, Chris Lawry, and their landscape team, lead by Simon Fensom.

Together we have worked through various processes to ensure that we have suitable trees, that the root systems are strong, and that they’ve been planted properly.  The leaky wells give the trees the best opportunity to grow faster. Resulting in trees that are better and healthier than those in a standard sub-division.”

The entire team at Burke Urban are proud to be working with committed individuals who share our community values. We are all driven by a passion for high standards and work collectively to create environmentally and socially responsible residential communities with a difference.


To find out how you can secure your future in this tree-loving environment, visit the Newenham Sales & Information Centre, open every day from 12 – 5pm at 164 Flaxley Road, Mount Barker or call our friendly sales team on 8210 7660.


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