Collingwood Children’s Farm: where locals have been farming for 40,000 years

Celebrating Farming is a week of family friendly community events being held at the Collingwood Children’s Farm from 23 – 29 November 2013, on the 175th anniversary of the first land sales in the district. The week will acknowledge that these land sales represented the final dispossession of the Wurundjeri traditional owners and put an end to their millennia-old farming practices. Through this acknowledgement, we will be celebrating the 40,000 year-history of farming on the Abbotsford Precinct Heritage Farmlands (APHF).

Nestled on a bend of the Yarra River less than 4km from the centre of Melbourne, the Collingwood Children’s Farm is a charitable Not-For-Profit organisation set on seven hectares of heritage farmland, gardens, orchards, rustic buildings and shady trees. During Celebrating Farming, different aspects of the Farm’s history and community connections will be highlighted and celebrated.

This will be a spectacular and unique community event, offering a shared opportunity to celebrate and learn more about the Farm, past and present. ‘The Farm believes in the community-building power of creating celebrations around nature and community. Doing things together creates community, a sense of achievement and pride,’ states Alex Walker, Farm Manager.

You are invited to participate in the Celebrating Farming festivities!

The Celebrating Farming Week of Events
In the last week of November we invite you to reflect on our past, enjoy the present and visualise the future of farming at the APHF, known as the Collingwood Children’s Farm. The Farm is a place where locals have been farming for 40,000 years, ‘In fact, we now know that this publicly owned Crown land has always been farmland and that is something we can all value and enjoy,’ says Alex Walker, Farm Manager.
The opening celebration 10 am, Saturday 23 November is to be launched by Mrs Elizabeth Chernov, the Farm’s Patron, and a special Family Day will be held on Sunday 24 November—both days, will have plenty of interesting and entertaining activities for children. At the Launch, we will acknowledge and highlight Indigenous farming and custodianship of this land with an Indigenous Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country by local Wurundjeri elders and community musical performances will entertain visitors.

‘We have lots of support and involvement from our local community, but I think some people are not aware of how extensive our commitment is to working with people in need. We are a charitable organisation and therefore it is a clear mandate for us, something we work towards every day. We want this to come across throughout the celebration week,’ says Walker.

Our monthly Family Day will be held on 24 November (instead of 1 December) and will be a day jam-packed with pony and tractor rides, cow milking, performances, farm demonstrations, animal feeding, displays, and roving children’s performers, face painting, story-telling and more for the kids. The Spinners and Weavers Guild will conduct an exhilarating ‘Back to Beanie’ competition as they challenge each other to produce a wearable beanie from wool sheared off the sheeps’ backs that morning, including spinning the wool and then knitting the beanie. Singers and musicians from Community Music Victoria including the ‘Homebrew’ Men’s Choir will be bringing the Farm alive with traditional farm songs amongst the various heritage buildings and grounds.

Throughout the week playgroups, primary and secondary education programs will facilitate children’s connections with various aspects of the Farm’s history and community. A range of activities reflecting our many community connections will be highlighted by themed days, such as looking at Indigenous issues, reflecting on our shared history with Abbotsford Convent, looking to traditional food preparation championed by groups such as the Country Women’s Association (CWA) and holding a community planting day.

From 6pm on Tuesday 26 November author Bill Gammage will discuss his Prime Minister’s Literary Award-winning book ‘The Greatest Estate on Earth’, an exploration of traditional Indigenous agricultural and land management practices prior to 1788. ‘We are honoured to host Bill Gammage’s talk about Indigenous farming, this is an area most Australians are not very familiar with’ says Alex Walker.
On Wednesday 27 November we will be launching an exciting new interactive Children’s Garden Trail project. On this day we will demonstrate the power of nature-based learning for all people, especially the very young.
Then on Friday after a community planting day known as ‘Feeding the Future’, we will close our celebrations with a bang as we look forward irreverently with our twilight closing event ‘Future Farming’, a comedy hypothetical hosted by a great Farm supporter and climate change ingénue the inimitable Rod Quantock. Justine Sless whose show Tomatoes and Other Stakeholders sold out at the recent Melbourne Comedy Festival and Roy Maloy, ‘Australia’s Circus King’ and hero of the Australian Agricultural Show circuit, will display some of his ‘unblended impressionism’ paintings and be among the panellists dissecting what farming will look like into the future. ‘It should be a bit of fun, sitting outside at the end of a summer’s day, enjoying our wonderful environment here at the Farm. We think people will really enjoy that. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do here,’ remarked Alex Walker.

Making appearances during the festivities will be Children’s Book Author and Illustrator Roland Harvey who will be working on a free-hand illustrated aerial map of the precinct’s Farmlands.

So, come along and be part of the story! There will be music and fun for everyone on every paddock and in every barn and stable!

Event Name:
Celebrating Farming at Collingwood Children’s Farm
Collingwood Children’s Farm , St Heliers St, Abbotsford, Melways Ref 44/G5
Saturday 23 November, 10am – 2pm – LAUNCH
Sunday 24 November, 10am – 5pm – FAMILY DAY
Monday 25 – Friday 29 November, 10am – 4pm –THEMED SCHOOL & CORPORATE PROGRAMS *
Tuesday 26 November, 6 – 8pm – BILL GAMMAGE ‘THE BIGGEST ESTATE ON EARTH’ BOOK TALK (free event)**
Wednesday 27 November (time TBC) – CHILDREN’S GARDEN LAUNCH
Friday 29 November, 6 – 9pm –‘FUTURE FARMING’: A TWILIGHT COMEDY NIGHT ($10)**
Daily Entry Fees:
$16 family $8 adult $4 child
$20 Closing Event Concession rates available.
*School and Corporate Bookings should contact Farm Reception for costings.
**Seats Limited – Reserve your tickets through or via the website.
Media & Broadcast opportunities
Promotional Photo, TV or Radio broadcast opportunities can be arranged. The week will provide a vast number of excellent media opportunities.
Further Information Contact:
Carla Bruce-Lee, Celebrating Farming Coordinator
Alex Walker, Farm Manager
phone: 94175806 fax: 94175806
email: OR
facebook: /collingwoodchildrensfarm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s