Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The Community Garden Consultation Afternoon Report
John Irving Reserve on Jordan Street
Rosehill/Harris Park Community Garden
Written by: Rebecca Parris.
27th March, 2009 4pm till 7 pm

On The Day:
Rainy and overcast weather kept us perplexed and indecisive on where to host the Community Garden Consultation Afternoon. We knew the ideal spot would be the Community Garden site, John Irving Reserve, if the weather permitted. Rosehill Public School Principal - Mr. Peter Wood, had offered us his lovely school grounds with an undercover area just in case of rain. It was much appreciated, but at 2 pm we decided the garden site was the place to be, as the sunshine broke through the clouds and warmed us up considerably. Awaiting Chris McAlpine’s (Community Place Development Officer for Parramatta City Council) arrival, we busied ourselves in readiness and headed down there. Four cars were loaded up with everything we could think of to make this day a huge success, despite the weather.

The HPCC volunteering crew quickly got to work with gusto. Before we knew it the setting took place with market stall/pergola arrangements and scattered chairs for people to relax. The look was professional and fun.

The BBQ was heated up and the sausage sizzle cook-off began, Yum! Guests and families arrived. The atmosphere was carnival like, whilst the sausage sizzle kept our bellies warm and the colourful displays and stalls delighted our senses. The mood was buzzing. It was going to be a great day.

HPCC volunteers and PCC staff welcomed guests and residents to view and comment on the Garden Design Concept Plan, we discussed benefits and information for joining and participating in the new Rosehill/Harris Park Community Garden. (Opening soon in 2009) We listened to comments and concerns. There were a lot of people showing keen interest to get involved.

We had all been looking forward to seeing the visual display that James Smallhorn (Open Spaces, PCC) had created for us. The concept plan was very thorough and agreeable using ideas that were discussed at past Community Garden meetings. The Concept Design Statement included everything from garden principles, work priority schedule, and list of fruit / shade trees suitable for the site.

Parramatta City Council- Open Spaces crew showcased a very interesting and useful Environmental awareness stall and gave away a free native plant to everyone that attended.

The crowd was swelling quickly with HPCC Homework Help students and their families, students of surrounding schools, committee members, interested organisations, friends and residents of the area. Thank you to our guests Maureen Walsh for participating and taking photos on behalf of the Hon. Mr. Laurie Ferguson, PCC Councilor Mr. John Chedid, PCC Councilor, Mr. Michael McDermott. Parramatta Police Liaison Clorinda Lee, Rosehill Public School Principal- Mr. Peter Wood and Granville TAFE teacher, Therese Douglas.

Volunteers, officials and organisation members liaised happily with locals, young and old in an informal and fun setting. The HPCC clowns had set up early under a pergola with face painting on offer for the children and balloon craft available for the kids to enjoy and play with.

One of the day’s highlights was the Featherdale Wildlife Park - live display. They kept us in awe with a young and active koala bear, cute baby wallaby, tawny frogmouth owl and a gigantic carpet python.

Therese Douglas-Granville TAFE announced free gardening classes to be arranged on site, by a qualified TAFE teacher (depending on interest) - A names list was circulated, with a large number of people showing interest.

The face painting clowns continued to amuse the children all afternoon. Two lucky winners scored double family passes to Featherdale Wildlife Park in Blacktown. Wow!

The turnout was approximately 80 people, 65 feedback questionnaires were completed. It was a hugely viable and fun afternoon.

Once again, a special Thank you to our sponsor Parramatta City Council and Harris Park Community Centre volunteers who helped make this afternoon a vibrant and successful event.