Fern Avenue Community Garden
The Main Points...
Where: 18 – 20 Fern Ave, Fullarton SA 5063
Times: Open Thursday from 9.00am to 12noon.
Working bees are usually held on the 2nd Saturday or Sunday of each month,
from 9.00am to 11.30am
Contact: Phone: Secretary 8271 5430
What you will find at Fern Avenue Community Garden:
- Construction of a straw bale building
- Installation of a composting toilet system
- Paved access for wheelchairs
- Raised garden beds for the elderly & disabled
- Community education programs
- Organic gardening courses are presented regularly
- Workshops on environmentally sensitive issues
- A weekly volunteers gardening session
- Installation of rainwater tanks
- Fruit tree plantings
- Herb and flower gardens
- Library of gardening related books
- Remnants of the wall and foundation of the Fullarton Jam Factory can still be seen today.
Let's Look Closer...
Sharing the Community Garden
There are approximately 35 garden plots available for rent by the community. All plots are currently being rented and the waiting list for plots is growing.
You may still come along to Fern Avenue to use the community plot or help out as a volunteer on Thursday mornings from 9.30 to 11.30.
Whether you rent a plot, share the community plot or volunteer at Fern Avenue, everyone must follow the following principles:
- Use organic gardening principles
- Conserve water
- Keep plots, common areas and paths tidy
In addition plot holders:
- Grow produce for own use rather than for profit
- Donate 10% of produce to the Community Harvest scheme
- Pay a service fee to cover rent and the upkeep of the property
- Fair share produce from the fruit trees
- Pay a share of excess water costs
- Attend working bees
A Brief History
The property at 18 – 20 Fern Avenue, Fullarton, has had a long and interesting history involving many people, buildings and a jam factory.
Mr William Giles purchased the section upon settlement of the Adelaide region. The land was sold to an importer, Mr James Frew, in 1839. Mr Frew and his wife Jane used the land for farming and their property soon became known as ‘Fullarton Estate’, so named after Jane’s maiden name.
The house that stands to the north of the garden today is ‘Barn Abbey’. The barn was erected in the 1840s and later transformed into a dwelling for Mr Frew’s sister-in-law when his wife became ill.
Barn Abbey whilst owned by Thomas Fairbrother.
c. Unley Museum Collection.
In 1851 the property was subdivided and ‘Barn Abbey’ was sold to Mr Jules Joubert. After being refused permission to marry a local girl and being imprisoned for debt, he was forced to sell the property back to James Frew six months later.
James Frew then leased the property to a number of tenants, the last of whom was Mr Thomas Fairbrother, who later purchased the property. By this time, ‘Barn Abbey’ had become run-down and the surrounding property neglected. Mr Fairbrother set about to rectify this by clearing the land, planting apricot trees, confining and retaining the creek and building a jam factory. The factory became known as the Fullarton Jam Factory and remained in the Fairbrother family for two generations.
Thomas Franklin Fairbrother, son of Thomas Fairbrother, it is believed, became disillusioned with the industry when fillers such as pumpkin started to be used in jams. He retired and the factory was dismantled in 1929. The property then changed hands several times before the City of Unley purchased it in 1965 for use of the local community.
Alternative 3 Inc.
Alternative 3 Inc. was established in 1992 due to the initiative of a local resident. It began as an independent body of volunteers whose aim was to provide programs and activities to support local unemployed people. In seeking to further its work, Alternative 3 Inc. approached the City of Unley with a view to formalising Fern Avenue as a community garden. A lease was signed in 1997 and, since then, Alternative 3 has been sharing environmentally sustainable practices with the community.
Alternative 3 Inc.’s main aims are to:
- Practise, model and teach organic gardening in the local community, as well as other environmentally sustainable practices and technologies wherever possible
- Assist and give priority to local disadvantaged people, for example, those on low incomes, disabled and elderly
- Preserve and highlight the history of the property
- Encourage community access and enjoyment of the garden
- Foster neighbourliness and community spirit
Seeds for Health
Cancer Care Centre’s Organic Gardening Program is held at the community garden. The aim of the program is to promote participant wellness through the experience of growing organic produce, both in the community garden plot and at home.
The program is over 7 weeks and focuses on hands-on education, creativity, fun and fostering of the community garden spirit!
There are two to three programs run during the year. The program is on held on Wednesday from 10am to 12noon. Cost to members is $70, and $90 to non-members.
Bookings are essential: Phone 8272 2411.
Unley Gardeners Plant Rescue
Where to get pre-loved plants at reasonable prices?
A committed group of gardeners rescue plants from demolition sites, gardens under-going a renovation, or those that are just unwanted. These plants are then made available for sale with all moneys going to various charities.
Call into the community garden on every second Tuesday for a bargain.
Enquiries: Phone Sue on 8357 2581
If you are interested in Community Gardens in other locations, check out our articles below.
Ridley Grove Community Garden, Woodville Gardens South Australia
Noarlunga Downs School Community Garden, Noarlunga Downs South Australia
Flinders University Community Permaculture Garden , Bedford Park South Australia
Community Gardens are a great way to share knowledge, skills and a love of gardening, as well as the benefits of physical activity in the outdoors, the social and community benefits and the wonderful food you grow! Well worth getting involved!