Orchard relocation commences

AN orchard located on Mary’s Hope Road will receive a second chance due to the efforts of a group of dedicated volunteers beginning the process of transferring the trees to Bethune Street Reserve in Chigwell.

The Chigwell Orchard Relocation Project (CORP) began two years ago after Mini Hogan discovered that a dilapidated house and orchard on Mary’s Hope Road was due to be knocked down.

After volunteering at the Chigwell Child and Family Centre, Ms Hogan saw the potential of transferring the various fruit trees to the neighbouring Bethune Reserve.

“It’s a beautiful place where there’s not a lot of real reason for people to be here and enjoy it, so we enacted the salvage and it’s been a really long time waiting for it all to come together,” she said.

Due to the site being owned by the Glenorchy City Council, Ms Hogan’s plan came together after a community survey from Council received overwhelmingly positive responses to the planned relocation.

“We’re also very grateful to the Glenorchy Community Fund who gave us a grant last year to help us get equipment and materials to do the work,” she said.

Ms Hogan said the project was a testament to how people can make change in their communities.

“When there is an orchard here it will be a living proof that people can have a good idea about what they want in their community and can make it happen,” she said.

“The question is not why doesn’t somebody do something about it, the question is what are we going to do about it.

“In that way it’s a very potent kind of symbol of a real, locally-driven, authentic change-making endeavour.”

CORP committee member David Osbourne said the process of transferring the trees would happen at the end of July.

“The optimum time to relocate trees is winter because that’s when the growth is at its minimum and you’ll have a larger success rate of transferring already established trees,” he said.

Mr Osbourne said there were many benefits in placing the orchard at Bethune Street Reserve.

“It’s an absolutely stunning piece of land,” he said.

“The aim is to make it a more utilisable community friendly space and try to attract future events and workshops.

“I think once the trees are established they will not only bring shade to the area, but also encourage more community usage.”

Mr Osbourne said that many of the locals used to utilise the orchard for the fruits at the Mary’s Hope Road location and hoped that would continue to happen.

“You’ve got stone fruits, cherries, almonds, apples – there’s quite an array of different varieties of fruits,” he said.

An event will be held at the Bethune Street Reserve on 13 April from 11am to 2pm, with there being grafting workshops, raffles, a free barbecue, live music and a number of games.

“We want to try and reignite people’s interest and understanding of what the project entails,” Mr Osbourne said.

“We’re also trying to attract volunteers because there will be a fair bit of work involved in digging all the trenches required for the orchard and getting it set up ready for the planting at the end of July.”

Caption: From left, CORP committee member David Osbourne and project instigator Mini Hogan at the new site for the orchard at Bethune Street Reserve.