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:
At the back of the alley some astro-turf was taped down to the bitumen to provide some green and child friendly playing space for small children. I saw last Sunday a father and his 3 kids stop by: the kids did a sack race on the astroturf!
A small white bookcase nearby has a range of books, mainly for kids but a few adult novels were there as well. There are a few board games as well to entertain older kids. During the morning I saw teenagers playing chess and draughts on a table in this part of the alley.
Sustainable Fawkner usually holds our monthly food swap on the second Saturday of the month at the Community House in CB Smith Reserve. We moved it for this month to the Town Square. Lots of fruit, herbs, tomatos, particularly cherry tomatoes from the backyard gardens of Fawkner.
Brian Bainbridge from Sustainable Fawkner conducted a workshop on how to make a garden wicking bed, using an old vegetable oil drum.
Dotted around the fences and the olive tree, if you looked closely, were different coloured pompoms which were made in a fun pompom making workshop conducted by Colleen on Wednesday afternoon.
Joel did a great job with the Sausauge sizzle and roast corn operating from about 10.30am to 3pm on a donation basis. The bread was donated by Bonwick Street Bakery, and the halal sausages were purchased from one of the Bonwick St butchers. The fruit shop on the corner dropped off a basket of fruit for people to eat while visiting the space. Providing a community space also benefits local traders (Visit and Like the Bonwick & Jukes Precinct Facebook page)
Local resident Gracie Lolicato has put in several weeks work in organising this space, in booking performers and stall holders. She was assisted by a Celebrating place grant from City of Moreland Council, with her application supported by Fawkner Community House, but really the grant has only covered her costs of organising this temporary space, not the huge amount of time and effort involved.
This video of our pop-up town square compiled by Jeremy Duff:
One of the attributes of our community which this space celebrates is our enormous diversity in cultures. From the elderly Italian and Greek migrants who settled in Fawkner in the 1960s, to the Turkish, Arabic, Indian, Pakistani and African cultures that have made Fawkner their home over the last two decades. And with the gentrification of southern suburbs of Brunswick and Coburg, more young families are also finding a home in Fawkner.
Documenting this changing cultural diversity and celebration of place is also being undertaken as a project by Gracie and her sister Katrina as part of The Foundling Archive. Check out the associated Facebook page: The Good Room Brunswick East – the foundling archive.
Next Saturday the piazza will host a market with stallholders selling their wares. Most of these people are talented local people who make and produce craft items for sale.
After that Fawkner’s piazza, temporary town square will come to an end. But there is an opportunity here for the City of Moreland officers to evaluate this temporary project with a view to a Council operated longer pop up park trial. Both Brunswick and Coburg have community mall spaces that provide a community social space. The Wilson Avenue pop up park trial in Brunswick was made permanent.
Councillors are aware of this temporary trial, and some are definitely sympathetic. Cr Lenka Thomson helped paint some of the seats at the setting up last week, and Cr Sue Bolton was impressed when she visited our town square during this Saturday’s morning rush period.
If the space was permanent, it would provide an oportunity for a regular craft market perhaps on a monthly basis, an opportunity for Fawkner home crafts people to display their wares. Fawkner also has it’s share of musicians who may consider sharing their talent to provide music occasionally.
Perhaps a more permanent mall could be used for a Friday night movie and pizza night: either project a movie onto the alley wall for a small crowd, or project onto a temporary larger screen at one end of the alley to accommodate a larger crowd. Our own Fawkner open air cinema, and an opportunity to bring some life to the shopping precinct in the evening. Although maybe not in Winter.
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