Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta – The Final Report

Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta 2009 Poster
Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta 2009 Poster
In 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. This event was a great success, providing a focus for the creative and environmental efforts of the Hulbert Street community and attracting an estimated 2000 visitors.

The 2009 Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta held on Saturday and Sunday September 19th and 20th 2009  built on this success, expanding the educative and participative content in response to a growing interest in sustainability of the Hulbert Street residents and the broader community. Despite a cloudy and cold weekend with several showers, this year over 5,000 people visited the street over the two day event.

The vision behind the Fiesta was one of celebrating sustainable living, encouraging people to take on a more sustainable lifestyle by coming to visit us  and demonstrating 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 25% of the houses being connected to their own solar power, over 50% of the houses growing some of their own food, regular street movies, community gardening days and fun social events ensuring people in the street are well connected and in a perfect situation to host the Fiesta.

This report outlines some of the major initiatives undertaken in 2009, describes some of the Fiesta highlights, provides a financial report and outlines some recommendations for the Fiesta next year.

Funding the Fiesta – Sponsorship Applications to the City of Fremantle.
whole streetApplications were made to the City of Fremantle for three different aspects of the Fiesta. (Please contact Shani Graham if you would like to see copies of these applications.)

A Community Grant application was made for the pre Fiesta activities, including the street planting day, children’s scarecrow making workshop and Youth Tree Training Day. Although the Fiesta was successful in gaining funds from this source in 2008 for the Fiesta itself, the City has a policy of not funding the same event twice. While the application made was clearly for activities leading up to the Fiesta and not for the Fiesta itself, this application was not successful.  The reason given was that the activity had been funded previously.

Freo First Funding was sought to pay for the coordination of the stalls over the weekend, part of the advertising costs and a marquee and seating over the weekend.

An application was also made to Alex Hyndman, the City’s Sustainability Officer to pay for the Speakers Marquee and advertising for the Fiesta. Alex liased with officers from Freo First and a total of $4,400 (including GST) was granted for the Fiesta from the Sustainability Initiatives Budget.

Other funding sources included stall holder fees, donations from a Melville Living Smart Group and local members of parliament, a percentage of door takings from the Australian Open Garden at The Painted Fish and donations received from people visiting Tim and Shani’s home at #21. The budget report
contains a full breakdown of income and expenditure, including an estimated value of the in kind support donated by residents to run the Fiesta.

Advertising the Fiesta

sus fiesta 09 136This year’s Fiesta poster featured a painting by local artist Tim Darby, entitled “Growing Community”. His whimsical water colour caricatures are popular with adults and children. Tim donated the use of this image to the Fiesta.

Kate Lindsay, a local graphic designer from Coagency and Hulbert Street resident, designed postcards and a poster advertising the Fiesta, and coordinated the printing of the this advertising material. All graphic design work was kindly donated by Kate.

Postcards were distributed early in August to interested stall holders and others. Posters were displayed in prominent businesses and public spaces around Fremantle and the greater Perth metropolitan region.

An article in the Herald newspaper about a month before the Fiesta featured information about some of the pre Fiesta activities and called for stall holders and buskers to participate.

The Feista poster image was also used as the basis for a special “wrap around” the Fremantle Herald newspaper, which was distributed to all households in the Fremantle area the weekend before the Fiesta.

This wrap had information about the Fiesta and articles featuring different aspects of the weekend including features about Sandra Black, a resident ceramic artist, Fiona Dunham and her efforts in recycling, Nadia and Kylie’s plans for the scarecrow making workshops, and interviews with Chris Ferriera from Great Gardens, emphasising the speakers at the Living Smart Speakers Tent.

Full page ads were also purchased for other versions of the Herald newspaper in Cockburn and Melville, and a final full page ad on the weekend of the Fiesta. The Herald newspaper was very supportive of the event and provided organisers with discounted advertising opportunities.

Local letter drops made sure all residents in the area around Hulbert Street were aware of the weekend, and informed of the expected increase in traffic etc over the weekend. Many local residents assisted before and over the weekend.

All local schools advertised the Fiesta in their school newsletters.

ABC 720 local radio was contacted about the event, and due consideration was given to broadcasting from the street on the Saturday morning of the Fiesta. While this did not eventuate, Shani was interviewed on the morning of the event and listeners were encouraged to attend during the popular “Roots and Shoots” program broadcast from 9- 10am on the Saturday of the Fiesta.

The Fiesta was listed as a special event as part of the Australian Open Garden Scheme, and this meant it was not possible to make direct contact with other media. City of Fremantle media staff met with Shani and Tim and prepared a press release for the City’s website, but this was not taken up by any other media. While local residents word of mouth seemed to be a fantastic conduit for promotion of the event, further media promotion is an issue that should be further examined next year.

Pre Fiesta Activities
street plant up aug 09 (3)In preparation for the Fiesta several street and community events were held, including a Street Verge Gardening Day a month or so before the big event. During the day residents of Hulbert Street were encouraged to plant productive food gardens on their verges, or tidy already established verge gardens. Three new verge garden beds were established and many verges were tidied.  All households did some tidying of verges before the big day.

There are many volunteers involved in the running of the Fiesta both before the event itself and over the weekend. To attempt to support and encourage this level of volunteering, this year a Sustaining Youth – Volunteer Training Day was organised in conjunction with Tim Kenworthy from “Youth Tree”.

youth day aug 22 012During this day, participants received training from Shani and Tim in organic vegetable gardening and an extensive tour showing the features of the two sustainable houses (The Painted Fish and #21) open over the Fiesta weekend. It was envisaged that these volunteers would then act as “guides” over the weekend, assisting people with questions etc. This training would also assist them in their own personal development and academic study.

While over 40 participants registered for this event, only a dozen or so came on the day, and only two of these volunteered over the weekend. It is felt however that this idea has potential and it would be interesting to work more formally with a local university or school next year.

Scarecrows 036During a Scarecrow Making Day facilitated by local community artist Nadia Rasheed, held the Sunday afternoon the weekend before the Fiesta participants were encouraged to make their own scarecrow to enter a competition held over the weekend. Approximately 25 children and families enjoyed this opportunity. Scarecrows were used to sign post open homes, gardens and studios before being gathered for official judging on the Sunday afternoon of the Fiesta.

Contact was made by email and hand delivered letter with eight local schools in the Fremantle area, inviting them to participate in various ways, including a call for students to busk, enter the scarecrow making completion (as a class or individual) and for classes to use the Fiesta poster as a “prompt” for children’s work. Local P&C groups were invited to use the Fiesta as a fundraising opportunity.

Fremantle Primary School responded to the Fiesta poster with two classes sending in work that was displayed during the Fiesta. Beaconsfield PS’s pre-primary class entered a fantastic scarecrow in the scarecrow completion. One of Lance Holt school’s classes displayed sustainable house models created by the students as part of their term’s work. A class from Winterfold Primary School visited for a tour of the Painted Fish the week before the Fiesta. It is hoped that school involvement in the Fiesta will grow next year.

The Fiesta Weekend

During the weekend itself Hulbert Street was closed to traffic, with residents volunteering to ensure all cars were off the road so road space was available for stalls and activities. Volunteers manned the street entrance to welcome visitors, noted the number entering the street and controlled traffic. Two people were rostered on to this street entrance door at all times. An estimated 5,000 people visited the street over the weekend.

Demonstrating Sustainability – Open Homes, Gardens and Artist Studios.

sus fiesta 09 144The Painted Fish at 37 Hulbert Street was open again part of Australian Open Garden Scheme (AOGS) with a door charge of $6. Three volunteers worked on the in and out door of the Painted Fish all weekend. The number of people entering the house and garden less than in 2008 (only 500 people or 10% of visitors paid to enter the Painted Fish compared to 1000 people or 50% of visitors in 2008).

Feedback from the volunteers at the door suggested that many people had already seen 5-6 gardens and houses by the time they got to the end of the street and the $6 door charge put many people off. The layout of the street was also different this year, with the buskers area and cafe being located in the middle of the street, rather than outside the Painted Fish. This meant there was a shift away from the Painted Fish being the focus of the event to the whole street being the focus. While this meant the Fiesta was not as financial as it could have been, this shift is seen as very positive.

Organisers felt there were some issues with opening with AOGS this year. While the Fiesta was listed as a special event in the AOGS diary but no special advertising was undertaken, the AOGS flags were not on display over the weekend (as they were in 2008) and no AOGS volunteers assisted on the door. Local advertising in the Herald and local papers, on ABC 720 radio and posters in local shops was all coordinated by Shani and Tim. The AOGS policy of not allowing householders to contact state media outlets did restrict publicity potential.

While the AOGS does supply insurance and some advertising, 65% of the door takings go to this organisation and while their work is commendable, it is recommended that different options for insurance and income streams should be examined next year.

This year more residents showcased their homes, creativity, work and sustainable lifestyles.

sus fiesta 09 101The front half of Tim and Shani’s other property at 21 Hulbert Street was also open to the public, with all proceeds from the donation box inside going to the running of the Fiesta. An estimated 700 people visited this house.

Also open for viewing was a productive food “guerrilla” garden on the verge leading down to South Beach, called the Living Smarties Garden. This garden has been established by Tim and Shani will support from Living Smart workshop participants.

The Painted Fish, #21 Hulbert Street and this Living Smarties Garden all had informational signage outlining special features to guests, with over 100 signs in total. This signage was compiled and printed by Shani and Tim, and proved popular with visitors who were able to self tour each property.

A total of six practising artists held hold “open studios” over the weekend, including Tania Ferrier and Abe Dunovits at #25, Sandra Black at #16, Robyn Warren at #33, Tim Darby at #21 and Ken Wadrop at #15. All artists reported pleasing feedback about the weekend, especially those who had goods for sale, and all are keen to participate again next year.

gardens dunhamsFour other gardens in the street (at # 7, 24, 26 and 10) were open to members of the public .

Ray and Gosia’s vege garden at #7 was only open on Saturday as the number of visitors during the day was overwhelming for this couple, and they decided not to open the next day.

Andrew and Megan’s front vege patch at #10 was visible over the fence and did not need someone to be present.

Fiona and Mike’s vege garden at #24 proved popular and Fiona noted how much time she spent talking to people about her garden.

Jenny’s native garden at #26 was “taken over” by Sandy the Fairy and proved a very popular spot for families to visit.

All open gardens and houses were signposted with cardboard signage and a scarecrow signalling the entrance. It was noted that in some instances more space was needed between stalls and the open properties so that the entrances were clear.

Six households took part in a “Living Smart Poster Project” where they shared in a poster outside their home what they have done in the past twelve months to make their homes and lifestyles more sustainable and what their future plans were. Also included was what they were most proud of and what they wished everyone else would do. This project has the potential to be expanded next year, both in the number of households participating and the size of the signage.

Feedback from the residents who opened their gardens was generally positive (with the exception of Ray and Gosia). Several other residents have expressed an interest in opening aspects of their homes or gardens next year.

A street raffle was held over the weekend, with a wide variety of goods and services donated by residents. The raffle raised about $350 for other street events and activities. This raffle has the potential to expand next year, with better touting of tickets etc.

Spreading the Living Smart Message
This year a Living Smart Speakers Tent set up directly outside the Painted Fish allowed for different groups and individuals  involved in sustainable living to share information in a more formal way over the weekend. Topics and speakers included :

fiesta stalls (34)– The Solar Shop
– Les Lyons from Weatherworks
– Gary Warden from Days of Change
– Chris Ferriera from Great Gardens
– Catherine Narbett from Raw Vanilla
– Community Midwifery WA
– Emma from the Raw Kitchen
– Vince from Slow Food Perth
– Dr Peter Dingle, and
– Jason from the Hemp Shop.

All speakers volunteered their time over the weekend. Audience sizes varied greatly with the most popular talks being Peter Dingle and Great Gardens. A speaker’s timetable was advertised in the local paper and on a flier handed to participants as they entered the street.

There could have been better coordination between the activities in the speakers tent and MCing in the buskers area. It is also suggested that next year a “host” welcome and thank speakers, and encourage people to attend talks and the speaker’s tent timetable should feature at various other positions in the street.

A  Living Smart Information Stall, manned by past participants and facilitators was set up near (or in) the Speakers Tent. This stall, designed and put together by Shani and Tim,  had photographs outlining the different topics covered in Living Smart and basic information about the course. There were three volunteers rostered on at all times, and they spoke to interested visitors about the impact of the Living Smart Course on their lives and also coordinated the Speaker’s Tent.

Over 150 people expressed an interested in future Living Smart courses or the local Freo Living Smarties Group. A follow up email was sent to interested parties outlining courses available in term four.

Street Stalls
fiesta stalls (1)This year about 60 stall holders participated – a well planned mixture of community groups (such as Living Smart, St Paul’s Church, Soroptimist Club etc ),  local artists and craftsman (eg Kiki, Chinky Rooster, Desert Shadow), local businesses selling or providing information about sustainable products (eg Solar Shop, Solar Options, Tanks Very Much etc),  flea market stalls and stalls selling food and drink (local schools and community groups were encouraged to run food stalls).

fiesta stalls (36)The stalls were coordinated by Kylie Wheatley from Red Tent Events at a discounted rate, with stall holder fees providing 68% of her fee. Stall holders were charged a sliding scale- from $50 a day for companies selling sustainable products or food, to $40 per day for local artists, $20 for community groups selling goods or services on the day, and $10 for flea market stalls. Community groups or individuals that were not selling anything were not charged for their stall. Hulbert Street residents who ran a stall were not charged.

fiesta stalls (27)A great deal of effort was made to ensure that stalls met the criteria for entry – products being sold had to be locally made and produced or be sustainable household goods, community groups had to be not aligned to any political part, and there was attention paid to the final “mix” of stalls. While this does reduce the percentage of Red Tent’s fees that come from stall holders, it is felt that it is vitally important to keep the local and sustainable focus of the Fiesta.

In general the following feedback was received from stall holders-
– All food stalls were in high demand and all ran out of food both days. There was generally not enough food for the number of people who attended. The raw food stall was especially popular and ran out of goods by the second day.
– Stalls selling sustainable products were generally happy with the exposure over the weekend.
– Stalls selling art and craft enjoyed the weekend but some did not make the sales they were expecting.
– Local community groups reported the weekend was a great success for sharing what they were doing in the local community.

Kylie had several requests from stallholders who wanted to be involved next year and she commented that many stallholders commented on the local, low key, friendly and “non commercial” feeling of the event.

Entertainment and Growing Community

 Cafe style seating was set up with round tables and chairs under a marquee near a the Street 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”.

sus fiesta 09 148The buskers stage proved very popular this year, and all spots were filled before the opening of the Fiesta. Shani contacted interested parties from last year and other local musicians and an article in the local paper appeared about a month before the event calling for buskers. Many street residents participated in the busking.

All public address and sound equipment used for the busking was generously donated by Abe Dunovits (Hulbert Street resident), who also coordinated sound and MC’d over the weekend. 15 year old Cassie Dunham (another street resident) also MC’d on the Sunday. As outlined earlier, the coordination between activities at the Speakers Tent and the busking could have been better.

Buskers performed for free and included:

buskers cake club 2– Local children playing violin and guitar
– Funkarellos – band
– Jim Fisher – singer songwriter
– Not the Dooby Brothers – Tim and Bil Darby and friends
– Hullaballoo Dance Troupe
– Joy Ride – band made up of teenagers
– The Eights – band
– Dave Pike – ukelebuskers voice male (3)
– Tribalive – belly dancers from Sheik to Sheik studio
– New Cosmick System – band
– Cake Club – large percussion group
– Voice Male – large male choir
– Dave Robertson –singer songwriter
– Marie Dwyer – singer songwriter
– WASAMBA – local Fremantle percussion group

A short email survey was sent to participating buskers. Most responded reported that they enjoyed performing over the weekend and were keen to participate in the future.

Much attention was paid to increasing the options for family activities over the weekend. Children and youth were able to participate in making two large street scarecrows and exploring the fairy garden on the Saturday, and an acrobats area on the Sunday. Coordinators of these events provided their services at a discount to the Fiesta organisers.

Several community groups and local residents also ran stalls with activities for families as a fundraising and advertising venture for their groups, such as face painting, fishing, guessing the number of worms in the worm farm, badge making, apple coring etc etc 

A portaloo was hired for the weekend, and toilets were available at The Painted Fish, but it is recommended that better toilet facilities need to be organised for next year.

The Formalities
A formal opening ceremony was held on Saturday at 12 noon. Invited dignitaries attending the opening included Allanah McTiernan (Opposition Minister for the Environment), Peter Tagliaferri (Fremantle Mayor) and Brad Pettitt (Local councillor and mayoral candidate).

buskers crowdDuring the ceremony Shani Graham invited all elected officials and those who wanted to be elected (local council elections were being held!) to come forward and collect two blue ribbons. Participants then had to find someone from the audience to give one of their ribbons to before joining  these ribbons. These pairings were then  combined to create a circle of ribbons with both elected and non elected members of the community, symbolising community working with various layers of government for a more sustainable community.

At this point the suggestion was made that the community circle was still not big enough to deal with the issues that were confronting us and so our mayor cut the circle of ribbons to include all members of the community, before giving a short speech opening the Fiesta.

buskers wasamba (3)A formal closing ceremony, scarecrow judging and raffle draw was held on Sunday at about 3pm. Sadly it had just rained very heavily before this event, and the planned scarecrow parade did not eventuate. Melissa Parke (Fremantle federal MP) Lyn McLaren (State MLC) Georgie Adeane (local South Fremantle Councillor) and Andrea Whiteley (Soil Sister) participated in the closing event. Local drumming group Wasamba began proceedings by performing and then encouraging participants to get their faces painted and join in.

scarcrow compThree special mentions were made from the collected scarecrows before prizes were awarded to all scarecrow participants. Many scarecrow makers were not present and many entry sheets had been damaged by the rain, so a letter to the local paper encouraged participants to contact Shani after the event to collect prizes. The Herald ran a three quarter page photo montage with the letter, an exciting surprise for organisers, volunteers and participants.

Volunteers and In kind support
preparing (1)Shani had been bed ridden with a prolapsed disc for about three months before the Fiesta, and underwent back surgery three weeks before the weekend, so many calls for assistance were made to the Freo Living Smarties and local resident to assist.  As well as a host of people who helped set up, prepare gardens and clean before the Fiesta, a total of ten volunteers were working at any one time over the Fiesta weekend. All street residents and volunteers were given special name badges to wear. 90% of residents in the street participated in some way, either by opening their homes, gardens or studios, running fundraising stalls, or working on the doors over the weekend.

The final budget report contains an estimate of the in kind support donated by volunteers over the Fiesta weekend.

The highlight of the weekend for many street residents was the street “couch race” and rally to the local pizza shop held after the visitors to the street had left. Many toasts were made to volunteers and enthusiasm for The Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta 2010 was high.

Final Financial and In Kind Support Budget

For full financial budget reports please contact Shani Graham.

The Fiesta’s total income including City of Fremantle Grant, donations, stall holder fees and door takings was $8 537.00 and total expenditure was $10 038.88.  In summary financially the Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta 2009 ran at a loss of $1501.88. This loss was covered by The Painted Fish.
An attempt to estimate the financial value of the in kind support for the Fiesta totals nearly $17 000. This includes graphic design, printing, door and street entrance volunteers, Living Smartie volunteers, buskers, photographers, setup and clean up, organisation, preparation, loss of income at the Painted Fish and final report preparation.  It should be noted that this list does not include community stall volunteers, businesses who offered special deals for the weekend, and groups who did fundraising.  All volunteers listed were coordinated by Shani and Tim from The Painted Fish.
sus fiesta 09 052

A short survey was sent out after the Fiesta to all residents of Hulbert Street, volunteers and busking participants. The overwhelming majority of respondents said they enjoyed the Fiesta and were willing to help out again next year. A review meeting was held with Tim, Shani , Alex Marshall (Community Development), Alex Hyndman (Sustainability Officer) and Kylie Wheatley from the City of Fremantle. A street afternoon tea and debrief was also held. Ideas and suggestions from the survey and meetings have been incorporated into this report.

The basic outline of the weekend and activities incorporated had good support. Improvements suggested included :
– the need for more toilets,
– more and a wider variety of food stalls, while keeping the emphasis on local sustainable food.
– better spacing of stalls so that the entry to gardens, houses and studios were more obvious,
– and more signage about the speakers tent schedule,
– using chalk to delineate stall spaces, rather than spray paint,
– having a MC for the weekend to ensure better coordination between the busking area and the speakers tent,
– the needed for more people at the street entrance, especially if raffle tickets are being sold, and
– the need for some form of identification for street residents.
Other suggestions, issues and ideas for 2010 included  finding a suitable date for the Feista next year, issues with insurance, funding opportunities, issues with advertising opportunities, how to judge the success of the Fiesta, and expanding aspects of this year’s Fiesta, including the Living Smart House Poster Project, School involvement and Volunteer Training Days.

Because of the weather issues this year, spring garden planting s and a conflict with a local Children’s Fiesta several suggestions were made to hold the Fiesta a bit later in the year, or even including it as part of the Fremantle Fiesta held in November. After a great deal of consideration and discussion it was decided to keep the Fiesta to the same weekend (one week before the end of the third school term and the weekend after Solar House Day) due to issues with school holidays, other spring events, and guests at the Painted Fish.

shani 3The Fiesta clearly needs to be well insured. Because Red Tent Events coordinated the stalls, the street itself and stalls are covered but it is suggested that different opportunities to be looked at for house, garden and studio insurance. It is suggested that the Fiesta has a big enough profile to “go it alone” without continuing to be an Australian Open Garden Scheme Event, but this does mean that other insurance will need to be sought. Ideas for discussion include paying for private Event Insurance from private insurance companies or the WA Local Government Association, or expanding local household insurance over the weekend.

Funding the Fiesta is an issue for the future. Grant applications take a great deal of time to compile and because the Fiesta is not organised by an incorporated non profit organisation but individuals in a street there are sometimes issues with eligibility. The Sustainability Officer at Fremantle City Council has indicated he will continue to support the Fiesta financially and views it as the “sustainable event of the year”, but other funding sources should be examined. The Community Development Officer from Fremantle suggested looking at Lottery West Funding and an appointment has been made to discuss this avenue. Discussions regarding a mixture of funding the Fiesta from a mixture of grants and donations by participants continue. There is also a need to ensure that Hulbert Street residents and participants understand the costs involved in coordinating the Fiesta.

While data was collected on the number of people attending the event, other evaluation depended on the short survey of volunteers, without any other form of direct feedback from participants. Given that the focus of the Fiesta is on encouraging sustainable lifestyles, clear identification of the educational goals of the Fiesta and other ways of judging the success of the Fiesta should be examined for 2010.

It is hoped that projects such as the Living Smarties Household Poster Display, Volunteer Training Day and street raffle and School involvement can be expanded next year, with separate coordinators being sought for some of these events.

For further information about the Fiesta or the details about this report, please contact Shani Graham at