Rock garden connects Whittlesea

The rock garden started with Whittlesea resident Penny Johnson who got the idea from a Facebook page.

By Steph McNicol

A GARDEN of painted rocks has brightened a Whittlesea street, as young community members decorate rocks to add to the collection – which was started by resident Penny Johnson.

Ms Johnson said she got the idea from another community page on Facebook, Rainbow Trail, which encouraged people to create anything rainbow and post it to the page.

The rock garden started with Whittlesea resident Penny Johnson who got the idea from a Facebook page.

During COVID-19, it was suggested people created rainbow artworks and put them somewhere for people to see while they were walking with their children each day.

Ms Johnson posted her idea to the Whittlesea Community Township Facebook group, and her idea was met with excitement and eagerness.

Whittlesea resident Rebecca Schemmerling said her daughters were excited to see the rock garden and add their own creations.

Ms Schemmerling said Amelie, Heidi, and Bronte looked forward to walking past the rock garden everyday to see how many new ones had been added.

Rebecca Schemmerling says her daughters Amelie, Heidi, and Bronte were excited to talk past the rock garden each day.

They first discovered the garden when walking on Tambo Circuit walking track near the bridge.

“I was walking along the walking track with my three girls and we spotted a little sign on a tree saying; ‘Rock Garden: Paint a rock and leave it here – to brighten up your day’,” Ms Schemmerling said.

“I think the idea is fantastic. A great idea to bring the community spirit together in a different way.

“The girls were very curious when they first saw the rock garden, and when I told them they can go and find a rock on our walk to take home to paint and bring back to the garden, they were very excited.

“It gives them something to look forward to doing during this current climate.”

Ms Schemmerling said the rock garden gave her girls a sense of belonging as they weren’t able to attend school or day care.

“The idea has brought kids a sense of fun and excitement. Each walk we go on; we have to go and check the rock garden to see how many more rocks have been added, and of course to see their own rocks there,” she said.

“I believe it promotes a sense of belonging in the community still – as they are currently not attending school or day care, or being involved in community sporting activities, it’s a very clever way for kids to still feel the inclusion and therefore a bit of normality within the community whilst under such restrictions.

“I think that the Rock Garden really symbolises the spirit of the community we live in. Very grateful to be living in such an inclusive community – even more so during these times.

“We are all in this together and even though we may not all be connected as we usually are as a community- we can still be connected in different ways.”