Sustainable Chippendale

A Sustainable Suburb In the Making

Sustainable Chippendale is a community initiative setup to support the Sustainable Streets and Community Plan in Chippendale. If you are passionate about sustainability we'd love you to join us in getting behind this ground breaking project to establish a practical model for sustainable inner city living in Sydney.

Mia's First Day in Sustainable Chippendale

By Yulan(Mia) Li


As a green hand in gardening, my first time working in Chippendale road garden was absolutely a rich and helpful experience. The skills I learned include watering, pruning, composting.  I also got some knowledge about how to achieve sustainability through gardening.


My first work was watering plants on both side of the road with the help of Jess. We used recycled water(it may also be called ‘greywater’). I learned from Jess that it is the root that needs access to water, not the leaves. Wetting foliage can be a waste of water.


We pruned kaffir lime and comfrey planted on roadside. The key point in pruning trees and shrubs is that always making an angled cut just above and sloping away from a viable bud. In this way we cut some offending branches that have blocked sunlight and take in too much nutrient. Comfrey is a kind of perennial herb and the pruning method is different from that of trees or shrubs. Basically we removed the stems from the comfrey.


Refer to for more information.

Auguring the compost

We moved the stuff in the compost bin on the street to the bins in backyard and aerated them with auger in order to encourage air circulation. The compost system is decaying well. I saw both brown materials such as moistened cardboard, egg containers, dry leaves, as well as green materials such as green leaves, garden clippings, and vegie scraps. They together provide sufficient carbon and nitrogen that are beneficial to balanced compost. It was good to see so many worms in the compost because they accelerate the decay and help function more efficiently.

Refer to and for more information.

Life circle – Turning green waste into composts   

We shredded the fresh green pruning (both limbs and leaves) and broke bulks of banana tree roots into small pieces then added them into compost bins. We soaked the pruning in water and after a few days they will produce a ready-to-use ‘compost tea’ that can be soil conditioner. We add banana tree root into compost bins and stirred well.

Refer to for more information.

Mia and Jess

Weekly Report 20/07/16

By Kathrin Germanous, Christina Gadalla and Bianca Bader

We are doing the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and part of that scheme is community service. For our community service we have been helping Michael Mobbs garden in Chippendale. Today we found out how much privilege we have because we have access to water every day and we learnt that mulch means a lot more to plants than we think.

We started the session by gathering the soil and worms under the hay in the chicken coop which we then mixed with water to make mulch! Then we covered the surroundings of plants with mulch in order to prevent weeds which compete with plants for moisture and nutrients. We also learnt that using organic mulch means there is more organic matter in the soil.  We put the mulch around many plants in an ‘L’ shape in order for the plant to be properly covered.  After that, we had a small photoshoot as you can see in the video below to show what we actually do not just in words. 

Next we had to empty the compost bin and we transported the compost to Michael’s backyard. We learnt that compost can be used again as mulch to be put around trees and shrubs to keep the moisture in and to prevent weeds from growing. The street’s compost bin hadn’t been emptied for only a month but it was already so full, although most of the paraphernalia were old fruits and veggies, there were a few naughty plastic bits inside it!

After we had finished with the compost bin, we got to lay brand new hay for the chickens! They were very happy with our work! Afterward we had to clean Michael’s floor because we had stepped in and out of his house with our muddy shoes way too many times. After we broomed and mopped, Michael challenged our knowledge of world affairs. He asked if we were aware of how many people don’t have access to clean water around the world. He told us to research about it and the results I found were very eye opening. 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water. 37% of those people live in Sub-Saharan Africa. 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases. Half of the world's hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease. Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease. So how can we, knowing all of this take water for granted? We use water for showering, drinking, washing our hands, cleaning the dishes, watering our plants, cleaning the floor and 783 million people can’t even drink it.

At the end of the session, Michael gave us a ‘who gives a crap’ toilet paper roll each and challenged us to make the switch. This brand of toilet paper donates 50% of their profits to wateraid to build toilets in the developing world. This organisation has provided 120,000 people with sanitation access, saved 22,758 trees by selling forest friendly paper products, saved 54 million litres of water by making their products using eco-friendly materials and reduced 4,377 tons of greenhouse gas emission by making products with cleaner processes. 

Overall, every time we come to Michael’s house, we learn something new and it makes us more consciously aware of gardening and of how much privilege we have to live in a country like Australia. We learnt that mulch helps plants to survive, we learnt that compost can be reused for a purpose and we learnt that buying one roll of ‘who gives a crap’ will save lives. 



New garden angels

Last week we got some new lovely and enthusiastic neighbours putting their hands up to help take care of our gardens! Our gardens can't survive without amazing people like these two, so a big thank you to them! See what they have been up to:

Tanaya taking care of a compost bin

Tanaya taking care of a compost bin

Tanaya went out with Michael Mobbs and put compost and mulch on the fruit trees on the southern side of Myrtle st between Pine and Shepherd and took out about half of the compost from the rotating compost bin outside 58 Myrtle st.

While they took out compost from it someone neither of us knew walked up and emptied a bucket of food waste into the bin; so they introduced themselves and shared the pleasure of turning food waste into healthy compost for our road gardens! That is what it is all about!

Tanaya and Vince live in units in Dangar place and took home a glass jar with some mung beans in it to grow so that’s a little bit of food she can grow in their unit! It doesn't matter how small your place is, there is always a way to grow some food, which is great for dinner and will also eventually help grow our little community of bees, lady bugs, etc, all essential for our environment!

Tanaya and Vince have also put their hands up to write some articles for our website, so you will be hearing more from them soon! 

Vince getting papayas from the tree on Myrtle st

Vince getting papayas from the tree on Myrtle st

Students go road gardening

We have had the pleasure to have Kathrin, Bianca and Christina back helping take care of our gardens for their Duke of Edinburgh's award and here is what they had to say about their experience:

"Our findings at the Chippendale Sustainable Garden        


By Kathrin Germanos, Bianca Bader and Christina Gadalla

 As part of our Duke of Ed requirement for service to the community we once again partook in volunteering at the Chippendale Gardens. The main thing which we got out of today is “ not to waste” and how we are easily able to minimise our waste as things which we often don’t realise, can actually be re used in new and different ways. In addition, we also learnt how to prune, and the importance of mulch especially during Autumn. 

The session started off with us trying some mung beans, which we then learnt how to grow from seeds. This was particularly interesting as during the colder months it is harder for plants to grow and thus harder to grow food. The mung bean however is one which we learn could be grown by ourselves to produce food. Furthermore, it is also rich in vitamins and versatile thus can be added to provide extra health benefits to a range of means. Michael’s suggestion being a vegetable slice or salad. 


 Next, we discovered another use of oyster shells, which can be added to compost tea, too improve the quality of the compost. We smashed them up using hammers then added them to the tea and went to pour this onto the garden. This tea is made up of a specific plant and then is left to ferment for a couple of days until it becomes aerobic and is rich is nitrogen ( vital for plant survival). This mixture although was quite stinky, was going to help the plants root systems grow during these months. Especially the root system since above ground level doesn’t usually grow so well during this time. 

The fertiliser was then covered in mulch which was raked up straight from the chicken coop. A mixture of chicken excrement, wormsand straw Michael described it as “gold”. This was then placed once again where we had just put the fertiliser. Around the plants – the main area where the roots extend too. 

 As for skills, we learnt how to use secateurs safely as this is a vital tool used for pruning. Pruning must be done to help the plants healthy as it opens up the plants and allows for more sunlight and air to pass through the middle of the plant. It also helps to reduce sickness and competition on branches as then the plant doesn’t have to supply nutrients to both branches- as consequently both will become weaker. It is much better to cut off the weaker one so the stronger one can become stronger. This overall increases the plants fruit production as well as survival rate. 


 We were able to take turns pruning a couple of plants, which we then covered in straw ( at the base of the plant ). This helps it during Autumn and Winter as it gets colder and it acts as a sort of blanket for the plants. 

 Overall we had a very valuable educational experience, which although at some stages may have been a little challenging, was eye opening. We learnt that even the smallest things can make a difference and that most ordinary things can be saved as re used to stop them from going to landfill. We were able to use these new found skills throughout the day and hopefully are able to harness them for better use in the future. "

Very special volunteers

On the 19/March/2016 we had a visit from Kathrin, Bianca and Christina from Meriden School. The girls are working towards they Duke of Edinburgh Award and decided to volunteer right here with us in Chippendale! Aren't we lucky? 

Plants kindly donated by the council

Plants kindly donated by the council

We also had Sarah who is doing her PHd from RMIT University on "life in sustainable places" coming to garden with us.

They worked really hard to help us plant a bunch of new plants we got given by the Council, we also did some prunning and mulching. Below you can see some pictures of our lovely morning!

Thank you so much girls for giving us your time to make our streets that much nicer!

Organic Art 'Second Life' By Ratih Luhur

The installation 'Second Life' is created to reflect the following characteristics of Myrtle St & Sustainable Chippendale:

1. Sustainability - created with organic and recycled materials collected from the streets

2. Our street as our living room - creation of a living room scene on the street

3. Edible / vegetable garden - planted with exotic microgreens, specially selected for variety of organic colours and textures. Rocket emeralds on the chair, amaranth red garnets on the hessian shawl, mung bean and peas in the planter basket

4. Multicultural heritage of the local residents- featuring a photo of Tayrona Park, Colombia by Maria Prada resident of 8 Myrtle St. 

The installation is part of my entry requirement to Master of Fine Arts degree in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies at the Bauhaus University of Weimar, Germany

Internationally, the Bauhaus is known as one of the most influential currents in modernism with a profound influence in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

Artist CV
Ratih Luhur graduated as BSc (Arch) from the University of Sydney in 1990. She completed Master of Visual Arts (Multi Media) with honours from Sydney College of the Arts in 2000 achieving High Distinction in all subjects. Ratih's design and artistic flare was awarded 2 of the 9 awards in William Van Alen Memorial Prize international competition by NIAE New York. Internationally, Ratih is also known as a spiritual healing practitioner and mentor.

Her work reflects her refined artistic style with sensitive spiritual and cultural awareness.

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