Cabaret at the Hut
July 2015 – Teresa Cannon

Photo by Barbara Oehring
On 26 July 2015, 70 people sat spellbound at The Hut as they witnessed the magical talent of well-known and much loved artists, Judi Connelli, Suzanne Johnston and Peter Hurley in a cabaret concert. The performance of the three local and internationally acclaimed artists perfectly combined sophistication and humour with the profound and the poignant. Many said it was an experience they would never forget.

The evening, organised by six locals affectionately known as the ‘Gully Group’, was a fundraiser for charities in India. This was the fourth fundraiser organised by the group. And like so many events in the Gully it was a community affair with many Gully groups and individuals assisting with organisation, catering, donations and support. The $3000 raised will assist two organisations, Prabhat Alloi in West Bengal and Learning and Ideas for Tibet (LIT) in Northern India. Both organisations work to provide their communities with health care and education, so alleviating the difficulties caused by poverty and illiteracy.

For those who would like to see the performers, or see them again, they’ll be singing for wildlife in another fundraiser at 7pm on 4 October at Belgrave. Further information and tickets here.

The Swagman is back!
June 16th, 2014

swagmanAfter nearly six months’ absence, Ferntree Gully Village has a new sculpture of a pioneer. An earlier sculpture, carved from the pine tree that stood in this space, had succumbed to the weather.

Wood carver Kevin has made a new one, this time from a block of red gum so heavy that it took two men and a crane to install.


Down on his Luck!
October 2013

Have you noticed that someone is missing from the Village Green by the Alpine Street railway crossing?

0009The carving of the Swagman (or The Sentimental Bloke) has succumbed to age, wind or rain and split into three pieces. These are being stored pending replacement, in 2014, by the woodcarver who made the original sculpture. So our icon will be back.

Locals will remember that the figure was carved from the wood of the great pine tree that had stood on the spot for many years, dominating the crossing and the village. The replacement chestnut tree is flourishing.

The Story Seat
August 12th, 2013

A Knox City Council Community Arts Project, supported by Mountain District Learning Centre (MDLC) and Community Housing Victoria Limited (CHL).

CHL Story Seat. Photo: Barbara Oehring
July 27, 2013, saw the launch of a beautiful mosaic seat in the centre of the CHL Housing Village in Dorset Road. Made by the residents with the support of artists Sarah Hammond and Leanne Mooney, the seat is both a work of art and a place to share stories.

Artist Sarah Hammond spoke with feeling about the value of sharing stories.

Photo: Barbara Oehring.
Thank you for welcoming us into your space and allowing us to play for a while to help you create this incredible piece of community art.

We need stories like we need sunshine. Behind every living or inanimate thing, there is a story. Stories connect us. They enrich our lives. Make sense of our fears. Answer our questions.

The Story Seat came into being built on the stories of the people who created it. Stories of joy, of sorrow, of hopes and dreams. Under the guardianship of two giant oaks, we replicated them in mosaic and drew upon their strength to create a special place. Through tears and laughter, we shared tales of our children, our families, of love, pain, pets, travels, wonders and wisdoms. We bonded over piles of broken tiles as we pieced together a whole new work of art. And the art is glorious. It embraces colour and radiates life.

The Story Seat is a space to meet, to sit and talk or to simply reflect. And like the mosaic vine that encircles the seat, the stories told there will weave our lives together. The Story Seat sits on the village green. It invites you to come and tell your story.

Now, as everyone knows, behind every great achievement there is generally a whole team of people. Without the steady stream of student artists (you) from this fantastic community, we would probably be still mosaicing the background. It started with your tiles of inspiration- words and wishes for you all. Then we let your imaginations lead the design.

You came in the rain. You came in the cold. You worked until there was no light left. Working in the mud under tarps that leaked and sometimes tipped whole bucketloads of of water down your backs. And those of you who didn’t make it down to the save, you waved at us from your balconies to encourage us, or stopped for a chat while walking the dog.

And on the occasions when the clouds cleared and the sun shone brightly, our community art angel from Knox City Council, Jo Herbig, would appear. She was great. She left us alone to ‘do our thing’ while always being there in the background if we needed her. We don’t know how she managed it, but she always brought the sun with her. I think she wondered what on earth we were whinging about. Whenever she visited… it wasn’t cold, it wasn’t wet, it was a glorious winter day!

We hope that you enjoy the seat for many years to come, and that the village green becomes a central hub for your community. We will send wishes to the powers that be for some shade, a huge picnic bench, and a barbeque!

Barbara Oehring-15401-EditPhotos: Barbara Oehring.