May activity: Lots of things happening this weekend!

Sustainable Fawkner’s next Food Swap is this Saturday 9 May from 10.30 till 12.30 at Jukes Rd. If you have any spare garden produce or seedlings or just want to share a conversation and a cuppa, come along and meet new friends. Fawkner Community House, CB Smith Reserve, 79 Jukes Rd, Fawkner

Fawkner Men’s Shed
Fawkner Men’s Shed is coming soon! Learn about the project and find out how you can get involved!
Saturday 9th May, 3pm till 4pm
Fawkner Community House, 95 Major Road, Fawkner
Contact Fawkner Community House: Ph. 9357 4631 or Brian on 0458 938 945
See: Fawkner Community House: Men’s Shed to be established on Major Rd site (Moreland Leader 4 May 2015)

Planting Day on Merri Creek
Planting Day on Merri Creek this Sunday 10 May (Mothers Day) from 10 till 12.30 near Lorne and Sahara streets. Free BBQ (Halal and vegetarian options). See flyer for more details.
Download an A4 Poster: 20150515 Planting the Gap at Fawkner Poster

Tree planting August 2014

Tree planting August 2014

Women’s Morning Tea
Women’s Morning Tea is Thursday 14 May at the Fawkner Community House (95 Major Rd) from 10.30 till 12. Amina who organises it had the great idea of making it part of the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, which is a fundraiser for the Cancer Council. So come along to this extra special version of the Morning Tea!

Sustainable Fawkner meeting
Our next Sustainable Fawkner meeting will be Saturday 16 May from 4 till 7 at Jukes Rd. (Shared meal from about 6 -bring a plate of food to share). We have lots to talk about! We now have two gardens, with great ideas from the Open Day about what we can do with the Major Road garden, John’s upcoming trip to the Climate Change conference, ideas for workshops, etc…

Fawkner Organics Bulk Food Co-op
There is a Fawkner Organics Bulk Food Co-op starting. Let us know and we will pass your details on to the lovely Holly who is organising it. It will be based at the Fawkner Community House.

Fawkner Community House
Sustainable Fawkner
Fawkner Organics Bulk Food Co-op


Earth hour preceeds electricity blackout in parts of Fawkner

Earthhour was last Saturday night. Did you turn out your lights for the hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm?

We had extra excitement here in Fawkner near Major Rd. A blackout in the local electricity grid enforced a measure of compliance slightly later in the evening. Those who had already participated in earth hour would have been well prepared with candles, matches and flashlights.

The electricity was down for perhaps 40 minutes, but provided a unique time to see the stars and the night sky more clearly from suburbia.

Around the world hundreds of millions of people participated in earth hour or were part of earth hour events to raise the profile and light the way on climate change. It isn’t the saving of power that is important (although those who control our grid now factor in the drop in demand over earthhour itself), but the symbolism involved in people calling for action to curtail the environmental degradation of the earth’s life systems and the looming threat posed by climate change.

People in about 172 countries participated in the earthhour event.

“From the Earth’s extremes to outer space, people came together to send a clear message that action on climate is on top of their agenda. Earth Hour confirms our belief that in order to change climate change we need to act together. WWF will continue to do its share to shape strong, global climate solutions,” said Sudhanshu Sarronwala, Chair, Board of Directors, Earth Hour Global.

According to the WWF, in Moscow the Kremlin switched off the lights while citizens switched on their power for change by collecting close to 70,000 signatures to petition a moratorium on the exploration of Arctic oil.

In Malaysia, citizens attended the first-ever Earth Hour 2015 carnival in Petaling Jaya and answered the call to come out in large numbers to show their support for a city council declaration to reduce carbon emissions by 25 per cent within the next five years.

Here is UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging participation in Earth hour in 2015. “No individual action is too small, no collective vision is too big. This is the time to use your power. Join the global movement to change climate change….Together let’s make climate change history.”

Over 1,400 landmarks switched off the lights on Saturday including the Empire State Building and the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Hong Kong’s iconic skyline. Close to 40 UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Acropolis in Athens, the walled city of Baku, the Cologne Cathedral and the Galapagos Islands also participated.

Earthhour started in Sydney in 2007. It has proven to be a powerful symbol of education in motivating change for more sustainable choices.

So, if you turned out your lights, you were a small part of this too. To read more and see photos and videos of earth hour visit


Sustainable Fawkner appear on Environmentality on Northwest FM

20150311-environmentalityLast week three of us from Sustainable Fawkner – Brian Bainbridge, Colleen Jones and John Englart, were interviewed live on the radio program Environmentality on North West FM 98.9.

We discussed our monthly foodswap that has been running for 5 years now, as an opportunity to meet fellow Fawkner residents, swap backyard grown produce and tips and tricks for gardening, cooking and on general sustainability issues.

Also discussed was the community project run by Gracie Lolicato for a temporary Town Square in one of the alley ways off the Bonwick and Jukes Rd shopping Precinct. See our reports from the first Saturday and 2nd Saturday.

For the third and Final Saturday on 21st March (this weekend) Gracie has organised a street market from 11am to 4pm with many local Fawkner stallholders, children’s activities and more music.

Images from a Wednesday afternoon from Fawkner Piazza

During the interview, John also talked about his involvement in Climate Action Moreland and the work done around climate change, the urban heat island effect and heatwave impact, divestment from fossil fuels and other climate issues with Moreland Council.

The show went live to air, but you can read the program summary for 11 March 2015 and also listen to a 42 minute podcast on 11 March 2015 of the conversation.

The Environmentality radio program covers environmental and sustainability issues for the Northern Melbourne region and goes to air at midday on Wednesdays from Northwest FM broadcast studios in Hadfield. Visit the Environmentality blog to catch the program rundown and podcasts and support our community radio in Melbourne’s north: 98.9 Northwest FM.
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Bonwick street Fawkner was buzzing on Saturday

The second Saturday of the Fawkner piazza, a temporary pop-up park and town square a Con Temporary Place (Visit and Like on Facebook) in one of the alleys of the Jukes Rd and Bonwick street shopping precinct, drew shoppers and local residents together to chat and muse and listen to music, and let their kids play for a while. The alley was throbbing with talk, home grown veggies, activity and music on Saturday.

The smells of sausages sizzling wafted down the street tempting people to come and have a little look at this new community social space while they were doing their Saturday morning shopping.

The soaring sounds of a saxophone playing the saxophone solo from Gerry Rafferty’s song ‘Baker Street':

This city desert makes you feel so cold
It’s got so many people but it’s got no soul
And it’s taken you so long to find out you were wrong
When you thought it held everything

Sweet musical sounds floating on the morning sunshine as cars arrive, search for parking, disgorge their occupants to do their shopping for a while, and then depart. Perhaps a few lingered a while longer curious about the music, the sausage sizzle, the alley filled with people.

And when you wake up it’s a new mornin’
The sun is shinin’, it’s a new mornin’
But you’re going, you’re going home

Interspersed with saxophone was the gentle sounds of an electronic piano. Other musical acts followed, including a community choir, a young boy who did some cool harmonica solos, a guitar duet with some sweet singing.

If you stayed until mid afternoon, you may have heard Meredith from the Community House on her button accordion jamming with Rachel, a violinist. But by that stage most of the shoppers had gone, traders had closed or were in the act of closing, and most of the young children had melted off home with their parents. Rachel is scheduled to perform this Wednesday afternoon.

The Foundling archive put together this compilation video:

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A temporary Fawkner piazza off Bonwick street takes shape

So, John, what did you do on Saturday? Oh I went to my local shopping precinct and helped make a piazza, a town square space, for the community. Arrived at 10am and ended up spending several hours there: helping to paint street furniture, moving tables and chairs, talking to people curious about what was happening.

Will there be coffee served there? No. Fawkner already has some great cake and coffee shops just a few doors away. Buy your coffee (and cake) from these established businesses that have mastered the art of extracting the best flavours from their coffee machines. And purchase their cakes and pastries too! then bring them to the piazza to sit, drink and eat.

Need to sit for a while after buying your groceries and vegetables? Sure, it’s a place a sit for a while, strike up a conversation.

Converting this laneway into a community space is a project of Fawkner residents, schools and businesses and is supported by Moreland City Council, Fawkner Community House and the Foundling Archive. A grant from Moreland Council was made for this community space utilising the laneway for two weeks in March.

Cr Lenka Thompson joined us and helped painting some recycled  pallet bench seats

Cr Lenka Thompson joined us and helped painting some recycled pallet bench seats

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A town square for Fawkner?

This Saturday, 7th March, for a couple of weeks a laneway off Bonwick Street will be transformed into a town Square.

This is an opportunity to meet other residents, socialise, sit down and have a coffee, listen to some music, buy some craft items from the suitcase popup market, and more.

But more than anything, the utility of the place is up to you to make it work as a social space.

See you at Fawkner’s own Con Temporary place.

More info see the Con Temporary Place Facebook page.

Healthscope launches campaign to bully residents and Moreland Council over John Fawkner Hospital re-development

This story is a little different from my usual fare. It is about a major Health company – Healthscope – launching a campaign against local residents and Moreland Council for the redevelopment of the John Fawkner private hospital.

If you live in Fawkner, or elsewhere in Moreland, you may have been surprised to see a letter sent to your address in your letterbox from John Fawkner Hospital yesterday or today.

So why would John Fawkner Hospital, located on Moreland Road in Coburg and bordering Brunswick be sending these letters out to distant parts of the municipality like Fawkner?

Perhaps they have done a mailing to every address in the municipality? I don’t know.

So this letter explains that they want to redevelop and expand the site including building a multi-level car park. But their development plans have gone to Moreland Council and twice been rejected. Something fishy is going on here.

The first time the plans were rejected by Council in July 2012 as inappropriate. John Fawkner Hospital appealed the decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) but lost. Strange, because usually VCAT decisions predominantly support development proposals.
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Bird survey at Fawkner Sunday 15 Feb 2015

Red-browed Finch

Red-browed Finch

Come along to the Friends of Merri Creek first bird survey for 2015 on Sunday 15 February, from 8:45 to 10:30am. The quarterly bird survey runs at different locations up and down Merri Creek, as well as at Bababi Djinanang (Jukes Road grasslands), in Fawkner.

How about visiting a part of the Merri that you haven’t seen? – choose a site from the list below. If this date doesn’t suit, then come along to Bababi Marning (Cooper Street Grasslands Reserve) a week later, on 22 February.

What to Bring
Bring binoculars if you have them, and drinking water, closed-in footwear and a sunhat. Preferably wear sombre colours.
Beginner-birders are welcome to our surveys, as well as experienced birders.
No dogs, please.

If you would enjoy a stroll through native grasslands by Merri Creek, spotting the birds as you go, then come along to Bababi Marning (Cooper Street Grasslands Reserve) next Sunday, 22 February. You can even have a bit of a sleep-in, as the starting time will be 10:30am next Sunday. The survey will finish around 12 noon.

Please call or text the survey leader, Stuart Dashper on 0404 012 385, to let him know that you will be coming.

Other dates for surveys in 2015:

  • 17 May
  • 6 September
  • 8 November

Surveys at Bababi Marning (Cooper Street Grasslands Reserve) will be held 24 May, 13 September and 15 November.

Survey meeting points:

  • Bababi Djinanang (Jukes Road grasslands), Fawkner: Meet on Merri Path at end of Jukes Road, Fawkner (Melway 18 A2).
  • Egan Reserve-Harding St-Strettle Reserve: Meet at the steps at end of The Grove, East Coburg (Melway 30 A3).
  • Coburg Lake Reserve: Meet near the car park, Lake Grove Coburg (Melway 17 H10).
  • Edwardes Lake: Meet at the playground adjacent to Griffiths St, Reservoir (Melway 18 E5).
  • CERES to Moreland Road: Meet at the seats on the Merri Path at rear of CERES near Blyth Street, East Brunswick (Melway 30 B7).
  • Phillips Reserve, Merri Park: Meet at the end of Victoria St, East Brunswick, at barbecue shelter (Melway 30 B8).
  • Hall Reserve- Yarra Bend Park: Meet at the Rotunda, Hall Reserve, Clifton Hill (Melway 2D D1).
  • Galada Tamboore: Meet at the end of Hatty Court, Campbellfield (Melway 7 K6).
  • Galgi Ngaark (Craigieburn Grasslands): Meet at the O’Herns Road gate off Hume Highway (Melway 180 E6).
  • Bababi Marning (Cooper St Grasslands): Meet outside the Istrian Social Club, Cooper St Epping (Melway 387K10).

Come along and learn to identify the birds that frequent the Merri Creek ecosystems and contribute to data collection on changes in numbers and species of birds over time. This data is important to collate to understand bird numbers and movements due to changes in the environment and climate.

Sustainable Activities in February 2015 in Fawkner


Moreland Mayor Meghan Hopper and Wills MP Kelvin Thomson joined the Fawkner community in a planting mini-parade and celebration in December 2014

Welcome to 2015 and February launches with a busy schedule of community events which Sustainable Fawkner will be involved in.

BBQ Fundraiser
Firstly, the Fawkner Community House is having a Bunnings BBQ fundraiser on Saturday February 14th and is looking for helpers. Soon the Community House will be running two Community sites, when it takes over the old Fawkner Kinder site. Fundraising will help us run a diverse and accessible range of services and activities.

There are lots of jobs and shifts to choose from:
8 -11am
We also need a ‘taxi driver’ to go get people and things as required on the day, help setting and packing up and help buying things beforehand. If you can help (and we really, really need as many people as possible!) please contact the Community House on 9357 4631 or reply to this email. Unfortunately, sausages and BBQ are not halal, but hopefully there is a suitable job for everyone! And please pass the word on to others.

North-East Ward residents’ meeting
Wednesday, February 4, 7-8:30pm
Fawkner Senior Citizens’ Centre, 77 Jukes Rd, Fawkner (near Fawkner Leisure Centre & Fawkner Library)
Meet your local councilor Cr Sue Bolton. What issues concern you?
· Council’s policy for dealing with extreme heat
· Tree cover in Moreland
· Traffic congestion
· Development issues
· Amenities in Fawkner, Coburg North & Coburg
· Food security & community gardens
· Other issues?

20150204-ward meeting

Open Table Lunch
First Open Table lunch for the year is Saturday 7 February from 1 pm – 3 pm. It’s  free halal vegetarian meal and everyone is welcome. It’s at the Senior Citizens Centre in CB Smith Reserve. Apologies, but this event has been cancelled.

Tree of Faith Project
Saturday 14 and 28 February from 2 till 5 at the Community House. Chat informally about faith while creating the Fawkner Tree of Faith –a lasting fabric artwork to be exhibited in the community. No art or craft experience necessary! See attached flyer for more details.

Women’s Morning Tea
Women of all ages and cultures are welcome to come along to our monthly morning tea for good conversation and delicious cakes. Meet your neighbours. Kids welcome. FREE.
Thursday 12 February 10.30 am – 12 noon

Sustainable Fawkner Food Swap
Saturday 14 February 10.30 – 12.30

Merri Creek bird survey at Bababi Djinanang in Fawkner
Sunday 15 February, from 8:45 to 10:30am.
Bababi Djinanang (Jukes Road grasslands), Fawkner: Meet on Merri Path at end of Jukes Road, Fawkner (Melway 18 A2). More information

Craft Afternoon
Saturday 28 February 12-3pm

Fawkner Lawn Bowls Market
Sunday 22 February 10am – 3pm
86 Lorne St, Charles Mutton Reserve
Sausage sizzle (halal), devonshire tea, Face painting and glitter, marmalade and pickles, Greek pastry and cakes, craft and collectibles, pot plants, books, jewellery and Bric-a-brac

Movies in the Park
Friday 13 February 2015 Bain Reserve Merlynston
Bend it like Beckham (PG-13) – free entertainment and film
8 pm onwards (film screening around 9 pm)

Friday 20 February 2015 CB Smith Reserve Fawkner
Ponyo (G) – free entertainment and film
8 pm onwards (film screening around 9 pm)
For more details:

Planting mini-parade through Fawkner streets

In recent weeks we have had a burst of activity in carpentry through collaboration with Urban Bush carpenters enabled by a grant from City of Moreland Council Celebrating Place program.

IMG_9488-600x900-building-fawkner-farmersWe have had four workshops where people have been able to use carpentry tools to create some useful gardening furniture with assistance of the Urban Bush Carpenters.

At the workshops we created a bench and five wicking planter boxes from old timber pallets. Of equal importance was the process of joining with others to build social community and community resilience.

The planter boxes are located at the Fawkner Community House in CB Smith Reserve, on the nature strip on Jukes Road, and at the Community House new extension at 95 Major Road.

On Saturday we planted summer crops in the new community planter boxes and held a wheel barrow procession through Fawkner streets from one site to another. It was a merry procession with ukelele, singing and various percussion to the enjoyment of the several children as part of the event.

We were joined at the planter box on Jukes Road by Cr Meghan Hopper, Mayor of Moreland, and Federal MP for Wills Kelvin Thomson. Cr Hopper joined in the planting.

The Fawkner Women’s Choir sang two songs as part of the celebrations at Fawkner Community House.

Kelvin Thomson spoke briefly on population and food security saying

The way that we are going in terms of population increase and unsustainable practices means that there are real problems and challenges further on up the road. It is already true that many people around the world don’t have enough to eat on a day to day basis, but this problem is likely to get worse and to be exacerbated by the energy inputs and the amount of carbon required to transport food from where it’s grown to where it’s being consumed.

The message out of all that is that we need to be more self-sufficient and to be able to grow and produce our own food. I think that is a terrific message to be conveying to people here in Fawkner as well as building all manner of living skills as part of that process. I am really delighted to seeing it in action.

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Urban food security

Urban food security is an important issue seldom widely discussed. I did some literature research in this area in early 2014 and wrote the blog article Tackling food security with a growing population, climate change and peak oil. Urban food security was also considered in my literature review conducted earlier this year into Heatwaves, Climate change and Melbourne where I noted:

While there is some concern by government of aggregate impact of climate change on agriculture and food production, little attention has been paid to the fragility of food supply chains and the role urban agriculture could play in urban resilience for urban populations. This has resulted in the upsurge of the Transition towns movement, an increase in suburban farmers markets, backyard permaculture gardening and informal food swaps. Burton et al (2013) detail in a qualitative study the growing interest in urban food security and backyard permaculture utilising two case studies of the Gold Coast and Melbourne as examples. This study provides a window on local communities already responding to climate change by building more resilient communities.

Burton, P, Lyons, K, Richards, C, Amati, M, Rose, N, Desfours, L, Pires, V, Barclay, R, (2013), Urban food security, urban resilience and climate change, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, pp.160.

Englart, John (2014) Tackling food security with a growing population, climate change and peak oil