HEY SYDNEY! We’re still the Jacaranda kings!
THE mayor of North Sydney has seemingly dismissed people’s attraction to jacarandas in Grafton with a plan to make a suburb of hers the jacaranda village of Sydney.
However, Grafton Jacaranda Festival manager Mark Blackadder leapt to Grafton’s defence on Sydney radio yesterday, saying Grafton would always be the Jacaranda city of Australia.
Cr Jilly Gibson cited a plan to plant more jacarandas in the suburb of Kirribilli, which has been inundated with tourists in the streets trying to get photos.
2GB radio host Deborah Knight told Mr Blackadder on air that Cr Gibson had said Grafton may have the jacarandas, but they don’t have Sydney Harbour.
“Regional tourism needs to thrive, and we certainly need to hang onto this. Sydney has got everything else,” Mr Blackadder replied
“I think we’re going to be hard to beat (with) 1700 jacaranda trees in one area. There’s actually more than 1700 continually planted with a rejuvenation program that keeps the festival going.”
“Harbour schmarbour,” Ms Knight said to the benefit of the Clarence. “You have the Clarence - the mighty Clarence River.”
While on air, Mr Blackadder told of the current state of the Jacaranda Festival, and said while the crowd-drawing events had been cancelled, the Jacaranda spirit was alive for the tourists visiting the Grafton to see the trees.
“We ran a Go Purple campaign for all our local businesses and we had 70 businesses turn purple which was just fantastic for a month period,” he said.
“That certainly showed all the visitors coming to town just to see the trees this year that the spirit was alive.”
In Kirribilli, tourists are often blocking streets to take photos of the colourful trees, leading for some residents to call for areas to be shut, or even for the trees to be chopped down.
Mr Blackadder said he couldn’t believe locals of Kirribilli wanted them cut down.
“They’re certainly a beautiful tree. Sure in a storm they make a bit of a mess... but it shocks me they wanted them cut down. It’s obviously a massive tourist attraction for Kirribilli,” he said.
“We’ve certainly sold so many Grafton City Jacaranda umbrellas and I’ve even had people sending me photos of them in Kirribilli, which is great to see.”