Chair Maggie Dwyer introduced Rob Porter who was here to speak about the Community Garden. Rob noted the site at the eastern end of Albert Park was a significant place in the early history of Warrnambool. Rob then went on to explain his talk tonight was to provide an update as to current activities at the garden.
Rob presented a number of slides to show the layout of the Community Garden. The Japanese Garden is located at the north end of the garden, but is not part of the Community Garden.
Most members activities take place in the south east corner of the garden. On the west side is the Wannon Water Treatment Plant and this area is occupied by a small market garden and native plant rehabilitation with the option for future projects. In the middle is the old quarry which since 2019 has been rehabilitated by members. 
The garden presents opportunities for community interaction, education of children and other members of the public, and after school gardening programs and tours. These activities reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, but have recently ramped up again. These groups usually comprise groups of 20 children. Feeding the chooks continues to be a popular activity for people of all ages.
Whilst the activities are important, the most important function of the garden is allowing people to work together and interact with others. There are numerous regular activities including a regular weekend working bee which includes a lunch at the conclusion of the work period.
The garden committee has recently been engaging with groups who provide services and projects for children at secondary school, and this encourages children of this age to just get outside and do stuff.
The quarry is being built with an amphitheatre at one end and has a large lawn area in the middle as a meeting and performance space. So far, the Community Garden has spent a bit over $250K on the quarry rehabilitation as part of Stage 1. Stage 2 is at the opposite end to the amphitheatre but is planned to be planted out with a stream and pools to give the feeling of a “rainforest” and will be used to assist with education about water conservation.
There are always a number of projects going on, and the Community Garden has been successful in obtaining some grants recently. A new signage and way finding project has recently been commenced amongst other ongoing projects. The group has also received recognition in a number of national sustainability awards and continues to receive recognition not just in Warrnambool, but further beyond.
Another important project is improving and reducing gradients for all ability access, and a future project includes fully accessible toilets. The ways of improving access for all includes purchasing suitable tools which can be used by people who may have mobility or other disability issues.
In closing, Rob noted one of the biggest needs for the Community Garden is a tractor as the garden itself has expanded from occupying only part of the site to the full six acres, and manual labour can no longer keep up with the increased utilisation of the site. A tractor and some other mechanised equipment will greatly benefit the ability to maintain the garden.
Maggie thanked Rob for his presentation and Rob noted his $30 donation goes to the Neil Porter Foundation. 
Rob has left Maggie with some business cards, so if members wish to find out more about the garden, please contact Maggie. Rob also invited everyone to attend the garden for the market held every Wednesday afternoon.