In small towns where common meeting areas are focal points, a feeling of shared ownership can turn into a vehicle for division when personal interest and opinion take away from community purpose.
Locals of Low Head in northern Tasmania have instead chosen to focus their energies on inclusion, education and engagement with Indigenous practise in their much-loved community garden.
With a population below 600, the garden gets a lot of foot traffic and attention.
When the local postman successfully nominated the garden to a community grants program the principal organisers and green thumbs opted to introduce an Indigenous Bush Tucker section with the money.
“The idea is just to be inclusive of everybody,” said local postman and Low Head resident Tony Saddington
“There hasn’t been a lot of teaching in what was grown here before white settlement.”
Mr Saddington said most people in the area have had little exposure to an education of Indigenous practice and culture.
The $1000 dollar grant will go towards a range of native Tasmanian plants that would have grown in the area before European settlement.
Indigenous Low Head resident Sally Gale said she’s excited by the addition, and spoke of the cultural significance of kangaroo apple’s she hopes to see thrive.
She explained how local Aboriginal people would wait for the plant flower as an indication to begin hunting kangaroos in the area.
“The kangaroos, once it’s ripe they come in and they ate them and that makes their flesh really, really palatable,” Ms Gale said.
“I just love that story.
“Being aware of everything that grew.
“It’s a cycle.”
Ms Gale said the inclusion of the bush tucker element serves as the perfect opportunity to impart this understanding of the land, animals and plants.
“We want to share and exchange that knowledge,” she said.
Fortunately there’s little concern for residents resistant to the change.
Those involved share a confidence in the overwhelming support they’ve received, while Ms Gale said anyone with the “wrong idea” is welcome to come and have their impressions changed.
“They can come and experience the getting together and the gatherings,” she said.
“It brings people together, so for me that’s that’s the crux of like an Aboriginal culture.
“It’s just a gathering place for everybody.
“You can do as much work in the garden as you wish or it was just come and sit and contemplate.”
Ms Gale said planting Tasmanian bush is a natural progression for the community garden, and the community experience its facilitated from the beginning.
The financial support comes courtesy of Australia Post’s People of Post grant program.