December 10, 2023 - January 20, 2024: Issue 609


Christmas season comes to Dunbar Park with handmade decorations

The festive season reached Avalon’s Dunbar Park this week when more than 50 residents decorated its trees with handmade ornaments.

Pittwater Greens Councillor Miranda Korzy, said she was grateful council staff supported her idea to invite residents to trim the park’s trees with ornaments crafted from natural and recycled materials.

Staff then proposed a workshop that was held in The Annexe after school on Thursday, led by consultant Julie Sergas from Inspire Me, and Avalon artists Ros Marsh and Billy Bragg, who volunteered their time, Ms Korzy said.

Ms Sergas provided templates for the children to work from, while Ms Marsh and Ms Bragg (along with the council) supplied sustainable materials - including bark, banksia pods and leaves as well as fabric, wool and repurposed items - from which to make the decorations.

“I hoped residents would join in decorating the trees with homemade baubles and other Christmas ornaments,” Ms Korzy said.

“I thought it would be a wonderful way to draw the community together in a traditional Christmas activity that would be fun for both young and old.

“I was delighted by the response, with some 50 kids, including Avalon primary students, joining in - and a number of local groups making their decorations at home and bringing them along to hang on Thursday.”

Amongst the homemade decorations gracing the 12 small Paperbarks (Melaleucas) in the park are giant gum blossoms, designed by former window dresser and Canopy Keepers member Dan Bressington - and created by the group. 

“These delicate gum blossom decorations are to remind all of us this Christmas to join together in the fight to keep our precious tree canopy, and the birds and wildlife that depend upon it,” Canopy Keepers said in a statement.

“Here in Pittwater we are lucky to have magnificent trees, but the shade, beauty and habitat they provide is constantly under threat, and needs to be nurtured, protected and renewed.” 

Members of the Pittwater Palms Retirement Village knitting group crocheted multi-coloured squares for their tree whilst the Armchair Gardeners created balls of native vine wrapped with silver and gold ribbons as well as giant stars now mounted on the park’s Cabbage Tree Palms.

Children from Happy Hearts Childcare had crafted their ornaments at preschool under their teachers’ guidance, colouring in small circular disks and decorating ceramic hearts, holly leaves and “gingerbread”. 

Meanwhile, the Aboriginal Support Group set up a table in the park, where children joined Aunty Claire, Uncle Neil and his wife Sue, making a range of ornaments designed by her, including hanging bark Christmas trees and painted boomerangs made from old “Vote Yes” corflutes.

Ms Korzy said she was inspired by shops on Bellevue Ave that a couple of years ago had decorated the trees nearby, which were much prettier than the average plastic street decorations.

Avalon Beach, after Brookvale, has the largest concentration of artists on the Northern Beaches (according to council research) so it seemed the perfect place to invite the community to make its own decorations, she said.