For two years Tecoma has been resisting the unwelcome advances of McDonald’s into the town and wider Dandenong Ranges area.

The Tecoma8 Graphic ArtThe incursion of McDonald’s and the resistance against this have been considered by McDonald’s the politicians, the courts, the media and the wider public in terms of profits and numbers.  Since the Victoria Supreme Court issued an injunction against eight members of the community the papers have been full of “The Tecoma 8″.


It is easy for those not directly involved to forget the people behind the numbers.

For the people of Tecoma and the Dandenong Ranges however it is ALL about the people.  This is our town, our community and our HOME.

We are more than just a number to enter onto McDonald’s balance books.

This project aims to explain the numbers and give those outside the community a better understanding of the people of Tecoma.

A Community by Numbers

2,088 is the actual population of Tecoma, the town where the proposed store will be sited, and where the majority of negative impacts from the development will be felt

1000+ objections from the wider community were received by the Shire of Yarra Ranges when consulting on McDonald’s planning application.  The highest number of submissions and objects ever received

8 letters of support for the planning application were received

99.2% of those who responded to the planning application were AGAINST it

Council meeting [source: ©John Weeks]

Council meeting [source: ©John Weeks]

600+ locals attended the council meeting on Tuesday 11th October 2011 to hear the councildiscuss the planning application.  The highest number of attendees at any council meeting causing it to be relocated to a larger building



8 is the number of councillors who UNANIMOUSLY voted to turn down the planning application. The decision was met by a standing ovation

Yarra Ranges Council Refusal to Grant a Permit

Oldest protester speaks with documentary team

Oldest protester speaks with documentary team

95 is the age of our oldest protester who has taken part in the protests from the beginning.  He can regularly be seen holding signs and waving to supporters from the walkway in front of the site and has also taken part in an independent documentary being made of the campaign

270 is the number of respondents to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) appeal which ran from 6-13 August, on 3 & 4th September 2012 and made its decision on 10 October 2012

41 is the number of respondents able to give testimony at the VCAT hearing

750 community members turned their disbelief and anger into passion and energy, building a healing garden on the empty lot beside the proposed McDonalds site on 14 October 2012

reclaim tecoma

The community reclaim Tecoma [Source: © Glenn Stephenson Photography]

 1 Aboriginal Elder Murindindi carried out a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony on the site, expressing his disappointment at what was occurring

200+ residents attending a council meeting on 23rd October 2012 were devastated when outgoing Councillors elected not to take the fight to the Victorian Supreme Court – such a commitment would have been like “signing a blank cheque” with costs being estimated at over $1million

12 police officers evict a single female protester from the garden on Fri 9th November 2012.  Janine and others had been taking turns sleeping in a tent in the garden since it was vandalised a few days after being established

16 local musicians got together to perform their own original tracks, many written for the campaign, and record “Resistance is Fertile” which sold out within weeks of release

Millions (literally!) of gnomes the world over have been mobilised following the formation of the Extra-ordinary League of Gentle Gnomes in January 2013 when the Gnomes of Tecoma issued a Call to March and joined their fellow human residents in the protest.  As guardians of our gardens and forests the gnomes have a lot to lose and as a consequence have become some of the most determined members of the community regularly protesting in their hundreds upon the steps of McDonald’s everywhere, chaining themselves to any unmovable object and even being the first to take up residence on the roof of the Hazlevale Dairy

Gnomes protest

Gnomes protest

837 households were recorded in Tecoma during the 2011 Census.  All were door knocked during November 2012 as part of the survey undertaken by No McDonalds in the Dandenong Ranges.  BurgerOff have provided summary samples of the survey to all media, a detailed audited version to McDonald’s at the mediation meeting in April 2013 and The Guardian newspaper also asked to see the full version of the data before reporting the story in both Australia and the UK.  The signatures collected during the survey were also presented by James Merlino MP to the lower house when petitioning on Tecoma’s behalf on 12 December 2012.  The campaign has nothing to hide. In exchange McDonald’s agreed to share their own survey results, which they were reluctant to provide during the VCAT appeal process.  To date they have failed to provide this information to either the campaign or the media.

James Merlino MP petitions parliament [Source: © Glenn Stephenson Photography]

James Merlino MP petitions parliament [Source: © Glenn Stephenson Photography]

772 households in Tecoma were home during the during November 2012 when the door knock survey took place (92% of ALL households took part in the survey)

1,230 adults over 18 from those households were asked the question “Are you for or against the proposed McDonald’s outlet in Tecoma”?

86 people had not formed an opinion or “didn’t care” enough to take part in the survey

1,144 of those adults asked answered the question with either a “For” or an “Against”

1,085 people said they were AGAINST the proposed McDonald’s outlet (94.8% of those who answered)

59 people said they were FOR the proposed McDonald’s outlet (5.2% of those who answered)

9 out of 10 people against is what you get when you round the “Against” responses to the nearest whole figure for clarity.  An audited copy of the survey and its documentation was provided to McDonald’s during the April meeting

3,000+ people marched from Belgrave to Tecoma on Saturday 2nd March 2013 to protest against the proposed development

March Against McDonald's, March 2013

March Against McDonald’s, March 2013

9,000,000+ people were reached by the campaign on 30th March 2013 when CNN tweeted it’s coverage of our story from the previous day

CNN Tweet the Tecoma Story

CNN Tweet the Tecoma Story

165 retweets of the CNN tweet were sent around the world, joining the hundreds who had already tweeted it and the thousands who have since.  The total number of people who have seen this story is extraordinary!

100+ news stations around the world covered the story and it was picked up and retweeted by celebrities such as Morgan Spurlock and Christina Assange


Japanese coverage of Tecoma's fight against McDonald's

Japanese coverage of Tecoma’s fight against McDonald’s

15+ separate language translations of the story appeared in the days following including Japanese






6 ½ community delegates had a meeting with McDonald’s representatives on Monday 22nd April 2013 after McDonald’s finally agreed to our repeated requests

Symbol of Tecoma's resistance [Source: © Glenn Stephenson Photography]

Symbol of Tecoma’s resistance [Source: © Glenn Stephenson Photography]

35 police officers and 25 security guards turned up at the proposed McDonald’s site on 1 July in order to escort fencing contractors onto the site.  By the end of the day almost the entire site was surrounded by fencing.  To the delight of children young and old much of this was 2.4m high black hoarding, making an excellent chalkboard!


8 people have been subject to a court order from Victorian Supreme Court preventing them from obstructing demolition & construction, as well as preventing them from discussing similar actions with others.  Bizarrely, McDonald’s CEO in Australia, Catriona Noble, claimed on ABC Radio 774 to be unaware of the injunctions or that there was a “fight”, despite reporting receiving thousands of emails regarding Tecoma.

The Tecoma 8 [Source: © Glenn Stephenson Photography]

The Tecoma 8 [Source: © Glenn Stephenson Photography]

1,000 to 8,500 is the range of estimates for those who joined the Tecoma community on Sunday 28th July to March Against Maccas and show them that they might take out injunctions against our community, but that we would not be silenced.  It was far larger than the previous march with protesters still arriving at the Tecoma site 40 minutes after the front banner and received national coverage.  Fantastic response to a march that had only been planned at a site meeting at the end of the previous week.  For an exhausted community the march was a necessary boost to our spirits ahead of the planned demolition.  The estimates varied widely due to the vast number of people continuing to join the march as it progressed and also because the police presence was minimal, meaning they had little in the way of spare officers to count people!

March Against Maccas - We Will Not be Silenced, July 2013 [Source: Eddie Jim, The Age]

March Against Maccas – We Will Not be Silenced, July 2013 [Source: Eddie Jim, The Age]

more roof angel delayed demolition for a further week after climbing onto the roof of the Hazelvale Dairy on the evening of the July march.  The Honours student from Upwey was nicknamed “roof angel” by the media after asking not to be named to prevent McDonald’s lawyers who trawl the campaign’s social media sites from preparing papers against her.

60+ Public Order Response Team officers (formerly known as the “Riot Squad”) appeared on the streets of Tecoma before dawn on Tuesday 6th August 2013 as part of an operation to remove the roof angel and facilitate access for BR Demolitions equipment.  Bewildered locals found the road out of Tecoma blocked and quickly arranged for as many people as possible to respond on site, where protesters continued their peaceful demonstrations in the usual manner – by singing.  The roof angel was removed by police and security using a cherry picker and was charged with tresspass.  She has a 500m exclusion zone but does not regret her actions.  

1 stilt-walking protester taking photographs during the demolition process on Wednesday 7th August was pulled to the ground by a senior police officer and then dragged for several meters by security guards.  Security had tried to prevent the man from standing by grabbing him and protesters intervened to protect him and assist him to his feet.  He was then pulled from behind by a police officer and grabbed the hoarding with one hand for balance.  The officer pulled him onto the bonnet of a parked car before other officers and security also grabbed him and pulled the stilt-walker towards the police line.  Protesters intervened and the injured man received medical treatment.  The doctor who treated him was so outraged he ran to the site and berated the police, demanding to speak to a senior officer who had been on site but apparently had left before the incident took place.  Although protesters were clearly upset by what occurred, the incident was over quickly.  A complaint has been made and police are investigating internally.

1 visually impaired local teen was refused access through the public easement around the site which has been used as a right of way for approximately 60 years.  The teenager was told by police to use the crossing on the Burwood, cross an unsignaled junction known to be dangerous and then recross an unsignaled portion of the Burwood during morning rush hour in order to make his way to school.  Protesters intervened and the teenager stood his ground, eventually receiving a police escort to ensure his safety from traffic.

1,600+ people have joined our online community on No Maccas in the Hills

260+ people are getting Mactivated and undertaking action to engage in non-violent protest against McDonald’s – including the FatSpace Gallery

15,700+ people have ‘liked’ our Facebook page NO McDonalds in the Dandenong Ranges

81,000+ people in our wider community (of the world!) have signed our petition on

Thousands upon thousands of people have emailed, phoned, written to, visited, banner dropped, tweeted, facebooked, protested, boycotted and ordered “No Maccas in Tecoma” please from McDonald’s stores around the world.  Many of these people have also similarly contacted the Hon Matthew Guy, Victorian Minister for Planning, the Federal Minister for Health, the Federal Minister for Education, their local MPs, councillors, the media and anyone else they think might need to know what is happening

To you ALL we say thank you and keep up the good fight!

The Community Behind the Numbers


1080112_10151604480329440_456733869_n software developer me Livi retired teacher, knitting nana Tamara not be bullied or silenced artist singer dancer actor comic

To see more of the Community Behind the Numbers visit the No McDonald’s in Tecoma Photo Project Action page


Letter from McDonald’s Paul Vallay to Yarra Ranges Council dated 10 October 2011

McDonald’s Australia Ltd website ‘find a restaurant’ page

Mediation Meeting with McDonalds held 22 April 2013

Google map showing overlap of proposed McDonalds and other local stores

McDonald’s Australia Ltd submission regarding the 2013 Review of Franchising Code of Conduct

ABS 2011 Census Data for Tecoma

Dept. of Planning & Community Development website ‘find your local council’ page

Yarra Ranges Council meeting 11 October 2011 agenda item 8.1 – McDonald’s Australia Ltd planning application

Affidavit: Andrew Gregory, Chief Financial Officer for McDonald’s Australia Ltd ’9 out of 10 say no’

VCAT Order Case Reference P3933/2011 10 October 2012

Yarra Ranges Council minutes for 11 October 2011 when McDonald’s application was discussed and unanimously refused

Resistance is Fertile CD album

Cllr Dunn’s Blog

Court Order against Tecoma 8 ‘the story so far’

Murrindindi Welcome To Country and Smoking Ceremony

Recording of community giving council a standing ovation when they refuse the McDonald’s planning application on 11 October 2011

Reclaim Tecoma Community Garden Video

Ballad of Tecoma video

Reclaim Tecoma planting covered by Channel 9 News on 14 October 2012

Garden lock out reported in Maroondah Weekly 9 November 2012 petition

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