Hurstville Community Garden recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, and I was privileged to attend a party at the garden to mark the occasion. The garden holds a special place in my heart; I always call it my “baby”. In 2006, I asked a question in Council about whether we could find a site suitable for a community garden. After a year of hard work by Council officers, local residents and myself, the Hurstville Community Garden was officially opened on 3 June 2007.
Not in my wildest dreams did I ever expect the idea to take off so well! I knew it would appeal to local apartment residents, but I didn’t realise the social impacts it would have, and how significant the garden has become to so many people.
- It’s become a peaceful green oasis in the middle of Hurstville.
- It’s become exercise classes where elderly people can stay active by gardening.
- It’s become a central place to meet new people – former strangers are now lifelong friends.
- It’s become a community centre, helping people to overcome social, linguistic, and geographic isolation.
- It’s become a place of cross-cultural sharing – where people share new vegetables, seeds, and recipes from their various cultures.
- It’s become impromptu English lessons, where recent immigrants can learn and practice the language.
- It’s become a classroom where local schools can learn about gardening.
- It’s become a sustainable mini-farm where people can grow and eat their own organic vegetables.
But more than anything, it’s become a place of belonging. In the truest sense of the word, it has become a *community* garden.
I can’t describe how proud I am of what the garden has become, and what it means to the gardeners. It was originally my baby, but now it’s grown up to become a beautiful place of peace and kindness. If you are ever in the area (Cross and Wright Sts, Hurstville), make sure you stop by to say hello to the gardeners and see for yourself what a wonderful place it’s become!