1985 Sydney’s first community garden

Sydney’s first community garden, Glovers Community Garden, was created on 600 square metres of north-facing, sloping land when the Rozelle Community Centre obtained use of the patch from the local hospital. The hospital also funded the chainlink fence surrounding the garden and provided water. The hospital has gone but the garden persists.

The following extract from the 2007 Marrickville Council report Community Gardens Policy Directions describes Sydney’s first community gardens:

Sydney’s first community garden was set up in 1986 in the grounds of Callam Park Hospital in Rozelle by people associated with a community centre. Like many community gardens and community-based organisations, Glovers Community Garden has seen fluctuating participation over the decades. The garden has served as a site for field visits for adult education and TAFE courses, bringing it a broader social role.

Just as the establishment of the Nunawading garden stimulated the further development of community gardening in Melbourne, so the practice gained a hold in Sydney. Angel Street Permaculture Garden was established in 1991 on Education Department land in a disused corner of a high school after the garden team failed to secure access from South Sydney Council to a small portion of Sydney Park, then just recently opened, for a city farm. At the same time, Waterloo Community Garden was opened in the grounds of the Uniting Church in Raglan Street. The Randwick Community Organic Garden (on Randwick City Council public open space at Randwick Community Centre) and UNSW Permaculture Community Garden on off-campus university land followed within a few years.

Community gardens have since proliferated and provide local people with social connection as well as access to fresh food. In 2022,  this blog piece from Flowers Across Sydney provided a guide to “Community gardens around Sydney.” While most are in the inner suburbs, one of them is more than 550km away in Albury while another, in Lennox Head, is more than 740km from the big smoke .

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