Murnong garden bowling community over

A SWCF grant for $3620 is helping re-establish an indigenous food garden on the site of the former Lismore Bowls Club.

When the Lismore Bowls Club was shut, and the land came up for sale, a group of passionate locals campaigned for the space to remain in public hands.

Now the former bowls green is the site of the Murnong Indigenous Garden, with different garden beds growing and celebrating the murnong yam daisy and other indigenous food sources from across the Victorian western plains’ region.

Murnong Indigenous Garden committee member Eleanor Bourke said a group of passionate Lismore locals decided to acquire the space for the first step on an indigenous food trail.

“The group are very aware of the indigenous plants here on Wadawurrung country which still exist despite the introduced species and weeds,” Eleanor said. “They collectively had the idea of establishing a garden here in this space.

“We are trying to establish a trail across south west Victoria to show the different indigenous food sources, including the Gunditjamara eel farming. There is a desire from people to know more about the true history of the region from the beginning, not just the white history.”

The group has established garden beds with three species of murrnong yam daisies native to Wadawurrung country. Once a staple food of the traditional people, these plants were nearly ‘wiped out’ when sheep were brought to the western plains’ by the first white settlers according to Val Lang.

Murnong Indigenous Garden l-r member Chris Lang and president Val Lang, with one of the new indigenous garden beds on the former Lismore Bowling Green.

“There are tiny pockets left and some people had preserved them and collected seeds,” Val said. “Now there is a community of people growing and spreading the seeds.”

Bringing community together is a key part of the Murnong Indigenous Garden plan. In 2021 SWCF granted $3620 to help purchase plants and garden equipment, and to help establish a labelling system for the different plants in the garden.

“At this stage we are building community, helping to develop everyone’s skills up,” Val said.

“We are still working on the labelling system, trying to decide on the best solution where the ink doesn’t fade, or the labels peel off.

“So far, we have purchased a wheelbarrow, trowels, and the rest went into plants and new dirt for the site, in particular solarised soil from Bacchus Marsh which is almost free of weeds.

“The collection of trowels is used by visitors to the garden to help plant different plants. Now they come back to see their personal plants they have put in.”

To find out more about the Murnong Indigenous Garden, please visit their website – or follow their Facebook page for regular updates –

November 23, 2022