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Sunshine Children's Garden

Sunshine Plaza is constructed near the site of the historical (and then revolutionary) industrial garden built for the workers at the Sunshine Harvester Works factory in the 1900s.

We want to invite children to reimagine and rebuild this piece of local history in an unexpected space - a shopping centre. Local families will turn a vacant shop into ‘Sunshine Children’s Garden’ a flourishing and beautiful garden playscape, using recycled cardboard and plastic donated from retailers within and around Sunshine Plaza.

We will work with Sunshine Historical Society to include large scale paste-ups cut out from historical photos of the gardens to act as a backdrop.

Now-lost features of the industrial gardens, such as its conservatory, bandstand and Head Gardener's cottage, will be used as some of the creative prompts to help, inspire and educate children as they build.

On the day we also wish to provide a take-away message to families by gifting each participant with a packet of chrysanthemum and dahlia seeds (two flowers for which the gardens were previously famous). The seed packet will be printed with information about Sunshine Children’s Garden and the historical significance of the industrial gardens. We also hope to inspire families to plant real-life gardens in their community using the seeds.

When finished the final installation will create a unique shopfront display for the community to enjoy for a week after the event, before being disassembled and recycled.

The event aims to strengthen local families’ sense of belonging to the community. Sunshine is an incredibly diverse area and many of its residents are immigrants who may not necessarily be aware of the history of the suburb.

Sunshine's Children's Garden will also create an opportunity for children to reflect on the historical and cultural significance of Sunshine's history while providing an opportunity to capture and document their ideas for its future.

Funded by Melbourne (June 2015)