This weekend I will re-open a tiny pocket park in the heart of Redfern - will you RSVP to join me when I re-open the park that set me on my career as a community independent?
Forty years ago, my husband Peter and I had moved home from London with our two children, and we wanted to live in the city. A tiny little place in Redfern was all we could afford. When you told people you lived in Redfern back then, they gasped.
When we set off to the local park, I was shocked to find it completely concreted-in with tall cyclone wire fencing. The council told me it was easier to sweep up the glass that way.
I set off down Bourke Street with my baby and toddler, gathering the support of the local Greek and Turkish mothers. We started a little group called Community Concern East Redfern – beavering away for three years, building our own playground and holding working bees. In 1980, a Council election came around and I asked everyone if they would like to run – when no one else would, I put my hand up.
To everyone’s surprise – especially my own – I was elected.
The rest is history – and I now look around Redfern and the city and am so proud of the wonderful, leafy environment we’ve created.
I would be thrilled if you could join me at the official launch of the playground on Kepos Street in Redfern this Saturday 17 February from 11am-1pm.