What it takes to keep this much-loved treehouse legal

A TREEHOUSE may sound like a simple thing, but a Byron Bay woman has been going to great lengths to keep one outside her home.

After Byron Shire Council recieved a complaint about the treehouse, which sits between two trees on a road reserve, they voted in April, 2018 to grant Mellanie Coppin a lease of the land to keep it.

The cost of a 12-month lease was the grand sum of $1, but Ms Coppin was also required to secure public liability insurance, an engineering certificate “attesting to the structural integrity of the structure” and an arborist report confirming the health of the trees.

She has so far successfully renewed the lease each year, and the matter will return to the council at the September 24 ordinary meeting.


The treehouse outside Mellanie Coppin’s Byron Bay home. A lease for the use of the road reserve area will go back before Byron Shire Council soon.


Ms Coppin said she was thankful the council had been willing to settle on a solution.

“It’s really nice that they had that kind of understanding of it,” she said.

She was “a bit miffed” when the treehouse originally attracted a complaint about six months after being built, but felt it had been “a thing of beauty” enjoyed by most.

“I know it didn’t get instigated the right way,” she said.

“It hasn’t caused a car crash; it’s not that big a showstopper.”

With passers-by often stopping to take photos and comment on the structure, Ms Coppin believes it “satisfies all sorts of things” the council wants to see happen in the shire, like celebrating creativity and community connection.

Ms Coppin, who has a 10-year-old child, said she was happy to have checks undertaken each year to ensure the treehouse is “robust”.

“It’s worth it because I love looking out there and seeing it,” she said.

The council received one submission on the pending lease renewal, from another resident who was supportive of the treehouse’s retention.

In a report that will go before Thursday’s meeting, the council’s staff have recommended the lease be renewed for another year.

This year, they have recommended the arborist and engineer reports obtained by Ms Coppin should be valid until September 30, 2022.

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Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton create 24 Little Treehouse books

Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton have huge imaginations but right now the world-renowned author and illustrator duo are thinking small.

The creators of the award-winning Treehouse book series have collaborated with Coles to produce 24 pocket-sized books as part of the supermarket giant’s latest collectable campaign.

The Coles Little Treehouse books will be available in stores from Wednesday (July 29) with every $30 purchase.

Griffiths and Denton – who have been using lockdown in Victoria to finalise their 130-Storey Treehouse – said the collectables were a celebration of the soon-to-be 10-book series.

“A lot of the Little Books will feature favourite characters from over the years and give them a chance to really shine,” Griffiths said.


“There will be a couple of feature tours, one through the treehouse, some new episodes, including an elephant on a bicycle which is a sneak peek of a character you will see later in the year when the 130-Storey Treehouse comes out.”

With more than 10 million copies of their books sold in Australia, 80 children’s choice awards and 10 Australian Book Industry Awards, the key to success for this famous pair has been to always allow their inner child to run amok.

“Humour is everything,” Griffiths said. “I’ve always written for my own amusement and as a secondary school teacher in my late 20s, I saw kids struggling with books that weren’t written for their time.

“When you’re beginning reading, we forget how much effort each word and sentence can be to decipher. Fortunately, I met Terry very early on and his drawings were the key to that. With his drawings, it saves me hundreds of words spent on descriptions.”

Griffiths said their books were created to inspire children to break the rules in their imaginations so they wouldn’t in the real world.

“In our books, they’re completely imagination inspired where there are no limits, there are no rules and you can dare yourself to think of the silliest, most dangerous thing and there are no real-world consequences,” he said.

Coles CEO Lisa Ronson said the world-first collectable campaign aimed to encourage a lifelong love of books.

“The original Treehouse book series means so much to Aussie kids… it was an easy choice when looking for stories that would capture the imagination,” Ms Ronson said.

“We all remember the excitement that Little Shop created for customers of all ages and we really wanted to create that same level of excitement for reading – because we know that enjoying books on a regular basis leads to improved literacy skills, better educational outcomes and happier children.”

Coles will also launch its first picture storybook competition on Wednesday, encouraging kids to develop their own fictional book which will attract prizes and book donations to schools and remote Indigenous communities through Coles’ partnership with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

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