Digging our heels in
REDFERN: Reconciliation Park is a stone’s throw from The Block where the Aboriginal Housing Company’s aging terrace houses have been bulldozed to make way for a new multi-storey high-rise development incorporating affordable housing for the local Aboriginal community.
When the City of Sydney Council decided to modernise the park’s playground, a group of local residents, myself included, suggested a small unused section would make an ideal community garden. Council agreed in principle, told us to form a committee and produce a proposal for its consideration. We formed the Reconciliation Park Community and immediately went to work.
We knew Council had been a firm supporter of community gardens for many years. We also knew getting council approval for anything is a long process – let alone asking them for money as well – and finalised a proposal for $10,000 to construct garden beds and a timber shed.
Our plan included raised timber beds that allowed for easy wheelchair access. Our submission was before Council for what seemed like an eternity. Then after five long years we received some good news. Council had finally agreed to our proposal and the Reconciliation Park Community Garden was born.
With no ongoing funding we need to raise money and do this partly by charging for membership and fundraising activities. Proceeds from the Tudor Hotel’s popular Friday night meat or vegie tray raffles are often donated to our garden too.
Our garden gives people a reason to come together and get to know each other. Most members agree that top of the many health benefits of community gardening is community itself. I’m on nodding terms with most local people, and now I know the names of many, can stop and chat and know we share a common interest.