16 Feb 2022

Julie Burgess has been a local of Whittlesea and Australia for just under four years. She moved here from Christchurch, New Zealand, to live with her family; first in Doreen, before moving out to Whittlesea.

“I like the mix of the rural type community and the easy access to anything that the city offers. I love the fact that I can head into the city on the train and go to a concert and I like that I can go to things like that locally. For example, the art exhibitions that the council runs. It’s the benefits of having both, plus the people.”

“I joined Rotary within weeks of coming here because I had belonged to Rotary New Zealand and I thought that, being retired, it would be a way of making friends. I couldn’t have joined a better organisation or a better group of people.”

What a testament Julie’s experience is to the welcoming warmth and kindness of the Whittlesea community!

The Whittlesea Garden Expo was the idea of the Rotary Club’s president, Mr Bain Simpson, and serious planning for the event has been underway for about a year. They assembled a five member project team and applied for and received a grant from the City of Whittlesea.

Gardening has become quite a salve for people during the covid lockdowns. Bunnings and local garden centres became overrun with customers looking to improve their homes and outdoor environments when they were confined to their homes and had more time to contemplate their surroundings. Gardens give people an opportunity to be creative and to find joy in little changes as plants grow, flowers bloom and bird life returns to their yards.

The inaugural Whittlesea Garden Expo will be an opportunity for the community to celebrate all things gardening and come together in a relaxed and fun day out. It will be held at the Whittlesea Showgrounds over the weekend of March 5th and 6th, 2022.

The Country Women’s Association will have a stall with their trademark baked goods, and there will also be live music, woodworks, arts and crafts, garden tools, a coffee van, hot food vans and herbal teas. The main focus, of course, will be on garden goods, plants and gardening techniques. Buy seeds, worms and worm farm accessories, windchimes or anything else that your garden could possibly need on this fabulous day out. Victorian gardening personalities, Melissa King and Clive Blazey, will be in attendance to offer gardening solutions and inspiration.

Ms Burgess says that the local groups have been incredibly helpful in providing expertise; the Ag society, and other groups have been hugely encouraging, lending equipment, helping the team with advice, and constantly demonstrating the real community spirit that exists in the town of Whittlesea.

“We’d love to see the locals enjoying the event and see people from outside the city of Whittlesea coming in and seeing the benefits of a small community and what we can do,” she says. “We hope to draw some people from wider afield in Victoria and we know that some of our stallholders draw their own audience.”

The Whittlesea Rotary Club is small with only 13 active members. To hear more about the club and this upcoming event get in touch by emailing  whittlesearotary@gmail.com