Vale Marcello Galuppo

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the tragic passing of our friend and colleague Marcello Galuppo.

Marcello joined Junglefy on the 17 November 2014. He was our first horticulture apprentice. Whilst completing his Certificate in Parks and Gardens at night he spent his days working with our team on One Central Park, which in 2015 was voted the World’s Best Tall building. For those of you who don’t know this building, it’s the building completely covered in plants and was the first of its kind.

Looking after the plants on this building meant starting early, between 6 and 7am. After rigging up with safety harnesses Marcello would walk to the roof of the tallest tower, 40 stories above ground and then, stepping into a Building Management Unit (a BMU), he would be dropped off the side of the building, attached to a mechanical arm by stainless steel wires. Whilst in the BMU Cello would prune, check for pests and disease, replant and remove any dead plants. It wasn’t a job for the faint hearted, but as most of you know, one thing Cello was not, was faint of heart. “He’s got such a big heart” was the most common thing people said when talking about Marcello.

(L-R) Marco Mingo and Marcello Galuppo on the BMU at One Central Park. Photo by: Turf Design Studio

An article was written once about Junglefy’s work at One Central Park, they called the team, extreme gardener’s. What a great way to describe Marcello, an extreme gardener. Working in a BMU, for most of us ground dwellers would be far too scary, but for Cello it was everyday life. There were many occasions when the BMU would break down and Cello would be stuck, sometimes for hours at a time. I remember on one occasion after a particularly long breakdown, I asked Cello how he was, he just laughed it off and told me it was a chance to think and sleep. Apparently Cello was quite good at sleeping in a BMU…

On another day, we had an email from a resident of one of the more ‘fancier’ buildings, so fancy the entire lift was lined in shiny stainless steel. The resident had a fair bit of spare time and after finding a small dent in the lift he watched the video footage and found Marcello, who after a hard day’s work accidentally dented the lift with his green waste wheely bin. The resident demanded Marcello leave OCP immediately, instead he took the resident a bottle of wine and apologised.

Another story that I want to share is the day Marcello, on his lunchbreak, happened upon a group of UTS students who were there with Professor Sara Wilkinson, one of Australia’s leading authorities on sustainability in our cities. Noticing the Junglefy logo on Marcello’s shirt they said hello and he then gave an impromptu speech to the group on green walls and maintaining OCP. We received an email from Professor Wilkinson who wrote “Marcello was articulate, enthusiastic and a real credit to Junglefy. He loves his work”.

Marcello loved his work and plants in particular, he would love to share his knowledge with whomever would listen. He also loved to draw and if you ever find yourself at OCP, with careful inspection, you may find one of his tags, the Coogee postcode 2034. He left this everywhere, perhaps it’s hiding in the stainless steel lift…

Marcello and his mother, Elvira at the BBM Youth Support Awards night. Photo: ©-Salty-Dingo-2019

My proudest memory of Marcello was when he won the first ever Horticulture Innovation Scholarship Award.

I recall going to Parliament house with Cello and his Mum Elvira to watch him receive this honour. He was so excited and would have travelled to Italy, France and England, working with some of the leaders in green walls and roofs. But then COVID hit and travel was no longer possible.

Even though he will never go, it is this night that I will hold in my heart, he was so excited and proud of himself, this is what I will remember when I think of him.

So to his family and friends please know, Marcello was loved at Junglefy and he will be remembered for being cheeky, hard-working, thoughtful, passionate, dedicated and lovable. He had a big heart and his tags, hiding all over OCP will live on, in his memory.

He was here with us and he made his mark.

By Suzie Barnett, General Manager, Junglefy