The Brownhill Creek Association are an amazingly active and positive group who have worked in and around the Brownhill Creek Reserve for many years. The Suzanne Elliott Charitable Trust has partnered with the Association in a small way, and we heard this week from the inimitable Ron Bellchambers, Community Liaison Officer for the group (and fantastic community worker) about another project in the offing (which will no doubt feature here at some point down the track).
While he was with us he spoke about the project they did last year, to commemorate a local resident of Mitcham and the first Labour premier in South Australia – indeed it was apparently the first stable Labour government in the world. He was in office from 1905 – 1909, and was quite obviously a dynamo. Some of the initiatives of his government include the establishment of free state secondary schooling, the introduction of a minimum wage and a wages board, establishing a state tourist bureau, and state supported public transport (the Municipal Tramways Trust). He started life as a stonecutter and worked on the parliament building in that capacity before becoming an MP.
I was very inspired by hearing about all this – and in particular about the present day work of local groups and individuals. They are a bunch of local people building relationships to create positive, progressive and inclusive places for people to meet and live and work and play. Most of this work is voluntary – just folk with an interest in their local community, the environment, education, indigenous matters, local history and more (just the diversity of the people who have been part of the projects is fantastic). It reminds me that nothing comes from nothing – or to put it more positively, getting together, meeting, talking, exploring and doing things with others creates change (very appropriate in thinking about Tom Price – who was very much an activist, and led a coalition Labour-Liberal government when in office).
I have been thinking about it all since hearing from Ron the other day and I went to Brownhill Creek today to have a look myself. It is a really lovely place, about 5 minutes from the middle of suburbia, and with excellent walking trails and a beautiful sense of peacefulness. What an asset to have such nature in our midst (click the photos to enlarge)…