With a welcome mid-afternoon breeze blowing – a reprieve from the previous week’s heatwave – committee members, official guests and supporters gathered at Bullsbrook Community Garden on Saturday 3 February to officially open both the garden and it’s latest instalment, a gazebo.
Chairperson Tim Batten opened proceedings, acknowledging the Whadjuk Noongar people as traditional custodians of the land on which the garden is situated, before providing some history on the creation of the project.
Tim said, “2017 was a significant year – my daughter was born. You might think that was why I went looking for a reason to get out of the house, but the truth is, I saw a garden created at Bullsbrook College for the students that we, the community, were unable to access to because of the big fence around it.
“I consulted with our friend, the late Anne Sibbel, who gave me a large folder full of information, and told me that the idea was here, it just needed a champion to see it through.
“With it being local council election time, myself and my son hit the campaign trail to find more supporters. From that, our biggest supporters were the Pearce ward councillors at the time, and in particular Kevin Bailey.
“We conducted our first meeting in September of that year, forming the first committee. Kevin continued to introduce us to valuable people in the city, and – having chosen this site as a recommended spot – liaised with people in the works department to help things get going.
“We had lots of help along the way. Former permaculture students Araluen Hagan and Rod Hughes joined us and before we knew it, their teacher, the late Ross Mars, came to our garden with his students to research and design our layout.”
The committee also worked hard to secure funds through grants and donations. “We’ve had support from local business as well as some bigger players from out of town,” said Tim. “And we continue to make money from the Containers for Change initiative, thanks to the thirsty racegoers of Ellenbrook Speedway,”
“The completion of the gazebo signals the final piece of our design, and a pat on the back for all that have been involved to get us here.”
Member for Swan Hills, Jessica Shaw MLA contributed $5000 towards the gazebo. She said, “It was a no brainer for me to provide the funding for this addition to the Community Garden. It’s a beautiful facility for the whole community and I’ll be very pleased to continue to help support that as much as I can.”
Jessica also commended the community spirit of the town, stating, “I think you have so many champions here in Bullsbrook – people who go to such remarkable effort to make this a really great place to live. You all seem to club together and achieve great projects – things that bring people together, places to go, places to hang out.”
Foundation member and treasurer Sue Davies was acknowledged for her work with the project, being nominated for a life membership. Together Jessica and Sue cut the ceremonial ribbon, officially opening the garden.
Tim concluded, “We are really proud of how far we have come. What was a dream nearly seven years ago has been achieved, and being up to your elbows in a garden bed, sharing a ‘Good Morning!’ with a dog walker is a brilliant way to spend a Sunday morning – particularly if you come across an apple or a gooseberry or a passion fruit.”