The Kerr’s History
Charles Sturt University
Education lecturer John Rafferty and CSU student representatives are the overseers of the KSC and are determined to make the Centre core business for the university. This will involve educating students in fields such as: open space planning, health, early childhood development. The Kerr is also a sub group of the university club the Green Adventure People (GAP) and sources many of its students for this connection. (CSU, 2013) Groups such as the Albury-Wodonga Environment Centre, Albury-Wodonga Sustainability Alliance and several ‘permablitz’s’ have all had waves of interest and presence in the area that the Kerr Sustainability Centre now occupies.
The name Kerr is taken from the previous owners of the land before Charles Sturt University purchased it. It is also the name of the existing house currently on the land ‘Kerr Cottage’. The Centre is located in Thurgoona (Albury-Wodonga) on university land and can be found by the front entrance (off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive) of the university taking your first left down a dirt road (known as St Johns rd, follow Men’s Shed signs) and then travel 500 metres until you find an old house surrounded by garden beds and fruit trees..
The Kerr Sustainability Centre began in April 2011 as an organic veggie garden. Spearheaded by local community member Mark Trebley, education lecturer John Rafferty and a number of CSU students, the unused land was developed into a series of organic vegetable beds. A small orchard of fruit and nut trees has been planted alongside the gardens. In the initial stages of development, but now involvement at the garden has grown and there is now a collective of community members actively gardening out at the Kerr Sustainability Centre.
In the past two years the Kerr gardens have been radically transformed by local community member Sid Churchill. Sid has reinvented almost the entirety of the allocated gardening area by hand, importing many trailer loads of horse manure from the Wodonga Equestrian Centre and positioning beds with even sizes and spacing’s for new community gardener members. He has with shovel, pitchfork and wheelbarrow lined several tonnes of bark chips between the beds supplied to the KSC by the ‘Eastern Tree Service Company’.
Riversong Steiner Playgroup
Along with the gardeners is the Riversong Steiner Playgroup where parents gather once a week each Monday to tell stories, sing songs and bake with their children. Rudolph Steiner was a philosopher who invented the school which encourages routines and self-expression in children’s early development.
The Men’s Shed
In the past 6 months a new group The Men’s Shed has arrived at the Kerr Sustainability Centre. The Men’s shed falls under the Australian Men’s Shed Association a group designed to promote men’s health and wellbeing throughout Australia. The Men’s shed aims to break the stereotypes of men in Australian culture as hard isolated and withdrawn by creating a space were blokes can co-operate and build projects of their own in a safe working environment. (Australian Men Shed Association, 2011). Since moving in the Men’s Shed have cleaned up the house and garage and had both areas refurbished.
“The long term views for the centre to become a hub of groups and sustainability ideas representing: education, health, workshops, events and healthy food principles.”
Many of the Centres ideas and ideal fortunately align with the Inland Living Experience’s operational plan created by the University in 2009 this plan is the basis for many thoughts and inspirations that the Centre currently values (Inland Living Experience, 2009).
If you wish to farm a piece of land please contact an administrator, visit the centre on Sundays after lunch or email:
The Kerr Sustainability Centre is proudly sponsored by:
Howlong Nursery, who give regular donations of vegetables for students in need.
Check out there website, http://www.pottedcolour.com.au/home/
Eastern Tree Service, who provide mulch for the garden beds http://www.easterntrees.com.au/
CSU Green, who provide funding for the gardens
Albury Conservation Company, for funding biodiversity projects