Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta Fremantle 2009 Growing Community


Hulbert-St-poster-jpg-medIn 2008 Tim Darby and Shani Graham from The Painted Fish hosted the first Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta. The Fiesta featured the opening of The Painted Fish South Beach Eco Village with the Australian Open Garden Scheme, in conjunction with a series of stalls, demonstrations and activities with a sustainable focus, flavoured with food and music.

img_00211This event was a huge success, providing a focus for the creative and environmental efforts of the Hulbert Street community and attracting an estimated 2000 visitors.

The proposed 2009 Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta will build on this success, expanding the educative and participative components in response to the growing interest of the Hulbert Street residents and the broader community.

The vision behind the Fiesta is one of celebrating sustainable living, and encouraging people to take on a more sustainable lifestyle by coming to visit the most sustainable accommodation option in WA – The Painted Fish and Fremantle’s “Sustainable Street” – Hulbert Street. Sustainability and community are an important aspect of life on Hulbert Street, with over 20% of the houses being connected to their own solar power for example, and regular street movies, gardening days and courses ensuring people in the street are well connected and in a perfect situation to host the Fiesta.

Hulbert Street will the closed to traffic for the weekend, with residents volunteering to ensure all cars are off the road so road space is available for stalls and activities. Last year about 30 stall holders participated – about one third community groups (such as Living Smart, The Organic Growers Association, The Freeman’s Shed, local schools), about one third local artists and craftsman, and about one third local businesses selling sustainable products used at The Painted Fish (eg Solar Shop, Earth and Water, Tanks Very Much etc etc ) Locals also participated in a Street Garage Sale, which will be expanded to include other residents this year.

img_0028In 2009 we are hoping to increase the number of stalls, but plan to keep a sustainable mixture of local artists, community groups, businesses and flea market type stalls. Red Tent Events will again manage this aspect of the Fiesta, ensuring a professional and well organised street stall presence.

The Painted Fish will again be open as part of Australian Open Garden Scheme, but this year a Living Smart Speakers Tent set up directly outside will allow for different groups and individuals  involved in sustainable living to share information in a more formal way over the weekend. Topics will include those generally covered in the award winning “Living Smart” course including – water, power, transport, waste, healthy homes, gardening for productivity and biodiversity, simply living, and keeping yourself healthy. A speaker’s timetable will be advertised in the local paper and on a flier handed to participants as they enter the street. Those interested will be encouraged to participate in a local “Living Smart” course by past participants and facilitators.

This year more residents will be showcasing their homes, creativity, work and sustainable lifestyles. The front half of Tim and Shani’s other property at 21 Hulbert Street will also be open to the public, along with a native garden and a productive food “guerrilla” garden on the verges leading down to South Beach.

Three other gardens in the street (at # 24, 26 and 10) will be open to members of the public – one native water wise garden and two showing different styles of food production.

A total of seven practising artists will hold “open studios” over the weekend, including Tania Ferrier and Abe Dunovits at #25, Sandra Black at #16, Robyn Warren at #33, Jenny Marwick Adamson at #26, Tim Darby at #21 and Ken Wadrop at #15.

Other householders will take part in a “Living Smart Poster Project” where they share what they have done in the past twelve months to make their homes and lifestyles more sustainable and what their future plans are.

There will be a great deal for people to see and do over the weekend. Cafe style seating will be set up near a “buskers’ spot” to allow participants to relax after visiting the open homes, studios and gardens and allow the informal sharing of information and food – an important part of “growing community”.

In preparation for the Fiesta several street and community events will be held, including a Street Verge Gardening Day on a month or so before the big event when residents of Hulbert Street will be encouraged to plant productive food gardens on their verges. 

During a Scarecrow Making Day the weekend before the Fiesta, two large scarecrows will be made as an entry to the street, and participants will be encouraged to make their own scarecrow to enter the competition over the weekend. These events will ensure that the streetscape is tidy and attractive to visitors, and include local families, youth and children in activities.

img_0018Last year many volunteers helped out with the running the Fiesta, with approximately $6,868 worth of in kind support being donated. This figure does not include those helping with the various community groups and charities that participated. This year we estimate nearly $17,000 of in kind support.

To support and encourage this level of volunteering, this year a Sustaining Youth – Volunteer Training Day is being organised in conjunction with “Youth Tree”. During this day, to be held about a month before the Fiesta itself, participants will receive training in organic vegetable gardening and the features of the two sustainable houses open over the Fiesta weekend. These volunteers will then act as “guides” over the weekend, assisting people with questions etc. This training will also assist them in their own personal development and academic study.

This year’s poster features a painting by local artist Tim Darby, entitled “Growing Community”. His whimsical water colour caricatures are popular with adults and children. Prints and cards of this poster will be available for sale over the weekend and local schools will be invited to use the poster as a stimulus for writing and art activities which can then be displayed. During the Fiesta, a community artist will use the original of the poster as a stimulus for a flag making workshop, and black and white prints will be available for children to colour in.

Much attention has been paid to increasing the options for family activities over the weekend. Children and youth will be able to participate in busking, scarecrow competitions,  flag making activities, face painting, ping pong competitions, fairy shows . . . . the list is growing daily! Community groups and schools will be invited to run stalls with activities for families as a fundraising and advertising venture for their groups.

For more information contact Shani Graham at