Wednesday 24 July 2024

Fairy nook for backyard garden: part 1: upcycling a toy oven

When the op shop refused to take Sylvia's toy oven because the door was broken I took it home and made it into a fairy nook for our back garden.  The project took 3 months of working on it on and off. In fact it took so long to transform the toy into a backyard feature that I found I had many photos I wanted to share and record what I did.  I decided to divide them into four posts starting here with Part 1 (with links to the next three to come):

  • Part 1: upcycling a toy oven
  • Part 2: painting
  • Part 3: creating the cafe
  • Part 4 creating the garden

This is the toy oven when Sylvia was given it on her second Christmas in 2011.  It looked so clean.  By the time we took it to the op shop (aka charity shop or opportunity shop) to be sold secondhand.it had stickers and kiddie writing and knocks and scratches.  (I am sure I took a photo of it then but can't find it.)  The main problem for the op shop was that the front door of the oven was with it but had fallen off.  It was rejected.  

I was so sad it could not go to another kid to give them as much joy as it had given Sylvia.  I thought about using it for storage and then I decided we could make a fairy garden out of it.  At the time I was not really sure how it would look.  Certainly not how it looks today.  We watched India Rose Crawford's Frog and Toad videos and dreamed of such creativity.  We collected bits and pieces and created something out of the oven that we now love. 

First those bright pinks and yellows had to be painted over.  We were aiming for a more rustic woodland fairy house than a cutsie cartoon.  I experimented with painting vines and now want to paint more vines all over the house.  More photos and reflections on the painting to come in Part 2.

We did a lot of shopping and brainstorming.  As we wandered through op shops and second hand shops we looked for ideas.  We tried to avoid buying new things but there were some bits from two dollar bargain shops that we loved.  We also looked out for leaves and gum nuts in parks and by footpaths.  Even the sticks from our icy poles (popsicles) were set aside.  At one stage I had visions of making them into a picket fence or a well.

Sylvia had a few shopping trips with her dad after they visited cafes.  She came home with tiny vases, jewellery, fake flowers and a miniature organ, as well as bags of stones and fake grass.  She had lots of ideas for making the garden pretty.  And she was happy to take some of the unused items to decorate her own room.

As well as buying some stuff, we searched through the junk collections that somehow accumulate at home, despite my best efforts.  We even mined the dolls house for ideas.  Our junk suddenly looked shiny and full of inspiration.  If only that plastic spider had all eight legs it might have been fun to sit in a corner with a web.

One afternoon I stopped during my ride along the bike path and collected old leaves, dried buds and sticks.  I found some dried palm leaves that I thought about weaving into a table cloth.  As I inspected an old fallen tree for straight sticks, a little girl asked me what I was doing.  Caught off guard, I replied, it's a project.  I wish I had chatted to her about our fairy garden but the timing was not right!  I might have looked like a crazy lady riding home with a bag full of sticks and some might even find it hard to imagine our situation of having this pile of twigs and leaves on the kitchen bench top for a few weeks!  There were moments when the project seemed to be taking over our lives!

After painting the old oven, we focused on the little cafe inside the old oven (more to come in Part 3).  This involved making a lot of furniture and household items.  I had painted it lighter inside because I knew that it would be harder to see inside.  A friend of mine has donated some fairy lights for inside the cafe.  I am still unsure how they will cope with the outdoors.  But the fairy garden had had long enough on the kitchen table.

Then I turned my attention to the garden on top (more to come in Part 4) where there had once been hotplates and a clock.  Pinterest gave me so many ideas such as spades made out of old coke cans, garden furniture, little streams of tiny blue stones and rustic swings.  Instead we ended up with apark bench and minions at a fireplace by a stone footpath.  It still seemed a bit magical to us.

It was hard to stop.  There was always one more thing we could add.  It took great resolve to set out on the adventure of making the fairy garden and great resolve to decide it was time to declare it finished.  Finally it was time to say enough and put away the paints and glue, to put away the clutter we had gathered by the sofa, to take the remaining sticks and leaves to the compost bin, to sort through all the rest of then leftover detritus and take the fairy garden to our backyard where it is to come alive.

I wanted it among the plants but on the table where Sylvia has a lot of little pots so that we can see inside it without needing to be at fairy height on the ground.  I quite liked the twig ladder that you can see in the above photo.  The dark green and browns we had painted the walls helped it to fit into the garden nicely.  Of course now it makes me wish for time for more projects - painting a new mural on the back fence, painting plants on our walls, making a tiny Halloween house or even taking the cupboard neighbours have put out on the pavement to make another fairy garden.  If only ...

I was glad I had glued everything down when it was being carried about but the test came when the garden was outside on rainy days.  The cafe seemed fairly protected from the rain.  Unfortunately the little garden had to return into our lounge room when I decided that the PVA glue in the garden section was getting a bit soggy and then some of the rungs fell off the ladder.  I bought some Gorilla glue that is reportedly waterproof.  It seems pretty strong.  

I will say it again.  It is hard to finish a project like this.  For a time it seemed to be constantly evolving and then our ideas became regrets when there was no more to do.  Sylvia and I talked about how much she would have loved it as a child.  (She still loves it as a teenager and I love it as an adult so we agree it not just for children.)  So we found some old little figures and had fun placing them around the fairy house.  They were just visitors and not glued down.  It is good the garden has some scope for change.  I am not sure how safe the tiny bits and pieces would be for little kids but I am sure they would find it fun and magical.

Shadow has been very interested in this project.  My brother suggested he is like Gargamel's cat, Azrael, in The Smurfs.  Of course he is a far more benign presence.  He is quite happy for it to be part of the garden, just so long as he still has his patch of outdoor table where he loves to sit.  I find it very satisfying to see the fairy garden outside and feel proud that we created it.

Tuesday 23 July 2024

Aboriginal flag nut roast

On the last day of NAIDOC Week I had decided to make a nut roast with an Aboriginal flag design.  I knew it would not be quick.  It took me about 3 hours to make it from starting to caramelise the onions until the loaf went into the oven to start baking.  

Most distracting was the assassination attempt on Donald Trump in the USA .  It happened just minutes before I started my cooking.  I was watching Insiders on the ABC and then watched the ABC news channel.  I felt sorry for the Indigenous reporters who suddenly lacked time to talk about NAIDOC week on our Australian news programs.  This goes some way to explaining why I might have taken so long.  But I can't just blame politics.  Making the nut roast also took quite a bit of time because I was making it up as I went along.  I was very happy with the final nut roast, albeit not the American politics. 

 

I had been planning this nut roast for a day or two.  I gathered inspiration from previous recipes I had made: Festive nut roast with tomato and herb layers, Mushroom gravy, Vegan nut roast, and Vegan tofu besan omelet.  The original idea came from an attempt at an Aboriginal flag with mushrooms gravy, tomato sauce and damper back in 2007.  The photo was not great but the idea was good.  I thought about revisiting it.  Then I riffed on the idea and came up with a nut roast using some of the elements from 2007.

Generally the recipes on this site are iterative rather than rigourously tested.  In my kitchen my recipes often evolve from previous experience and this one is no different.  I have made many nut roasts previously as well as gravies and sauces.  I also used the omelet recipe to consider the The challenge is that I need to get my head around how I will adjust what I have done before to suit a new recipe, such as this one.  I would love to try my recipes a few times and sometimes do but, as in this case, do not always have time for it.  The notes I make here help me when I want to tweak it or to develop it into another recipe.  And I hope they might help you if you are interested in the recipe.  Having said that, my recipes are always open to your own tweaking, depending on your preferences and what you have on hand.

The day before I made the nut roast I went for a long bike ride.  It was what I needed for ideas.  I had decided to have an omelet involved.  This idea morphed into playing with the idea of an Aboriginal flag on toast which I have previously posted.  I stopped at Manna Fresh groceries in Brunswick looking for silken tofu for an omelet and ideas for the recipe.  I was delighted to find a beetroot concentrated juice and activated charcoal, as well as some nice muffins. The black beans were also used for the flag on toast.  Sylvia had brought them for me when she was at the Mediterranean Wholesalers because our favourite tinned legumes have got so ridiculously expensive at the supermarket.

The recipe had quite a bit of preparation I would have liked to do the night before, if only I had had the energy.  I could have fried onions, ground nuts and made breadcrumbs out of ends of bread loaves in the freezer.  I love nut roasts because they are a great way of using up bits and pieces of food around the house.

The mushroom gravy was not perfect but it was pretty good.  I piled on the flavours of onion, mushroom, wattleseed, saltbush, and Vegemite.  I also added quite a bit of flour because the last time I made the gravy it seemed a bit thin.  The recipe for the nut roast below is mostly what I did but I have changed the mushroom gravy slightly to be 2 tbsp less flour, halved the wattleseed and to add some lemon juice.  I hope this would improve it by making it slightly softer and also make the flavours brighter.

It was in the gravy that I particularly experimented with Australian flavours.  Perhaps this is why I would tweak it if I made it again.  It is a while since I used wattleseed and this was my first time using saltbush.  I have read that saltbush can be substituted for salt but it smells more like herby leaves than salt to me.  I would like to try it in some bread baking at some stage and get a better sense of it.  

The big success was the charcoal which made the gravy so black at the end.  The only trade off is that activated charcoal can taste a bit gritty, as was the case in this recipe.  But it is worth a wee bit of grit for some impressive colour.  if you don't have activated charcoal then you can leave it out.

While the mushroom gravy was quite an experiment, with the tomato sauce I was on firmer ground.  I made these plain tomato sauces frequently for various recipes.  The main change I made was to add beetroot juice concentrate.  I was impressed at how red the sauce was.  No doubt the colour was enhanced by the beetroot juice concentrate.  It was a little bottle (70ml) that was intended to be drunk all at once like a shot of nutrients.  I didn't use it all and really enjoyed having a mouthful of it here and there over a few days as well as adding it to the sauce.  Of course it is optional and the tomato sauce works pretty well as I know not everyone has beetroot juice concentrate.

The resulting tomato layer was lovely.  When Sylvia tasted it she commented on its sweetness, which I really liked.  It was a good contrast to the darker flavours of the mushroom layer.  It was noticeably softer than the mushroom layer because it seemed a bit under cooked in the middle.  The extra moistness and softness probably made it cook slower than the thicker mushroom layer.  I have wondered if I should have seasoned it more or added another spoonful or two of flour but I think I would keep it the same next time but try and bake the loaf slightly longer.

In some ways the biggest challenge was the yellow filling but it was also easier because it did not involve cooking.  I just had to adjust the ingredients I added for the right texture and taste.  I was really happy I still had saffron that a friend had brought me back from Iran (thanks Eliza).  It made the sun in the flag beautifully bright.  However I know that not everyone has saffron as it can be so expensive in Australia.  Turmeric would do just as well as saffron if that is easier to find in your kitchen.

It was a great achievement to reach the point where I had the three nut nut roast mixtures in separate bowls.  Didn't they look beautiful.  I have played with bottle food dyes but am always happy if I can use foods to make the colours in a recipe rather than dyes.  

The colours cooked up pretty well.  The main disappointment was the red fading slightly.  I have always found that beetroot in baking is never as bright in the finished baked produce as the batter that goes into the oven.  However I think we can say it was close enough for jazz!  

I think these mixtures might work quite well, for those who prefer a meatloaf to the nut roast, if you cooked mince meat in them rather than the nuts.  As a vegetarian, I can't give guidance on cooking the meat but I am happy to be inclusive if that is your thing.  I also really liked that the nut roast was vegan so if the loaf was slightly under-cooked, as with mine, then there was no danger of eating raw foods you shouldn't be eating, such as meat or egg.  I also preferred a vegan nut roast because we were going through a period of not being able to buy our usual cartons of eggs due to the bird flu outbreak in Victoria.

I was pleased when my loaf came out of the oven.  The round yellow sun in the middle was well placed and quite a stiff mixture so it would hold its shape.  Getting the texture right is important to get the right look.  The black and red layers need to be softer so they easily nestle in against the sun but not too soft because the black needs to sit on the red and not "bleed" into it.  Ideally I would like the black and red layers to be of similar texture.  In this case the black was much firmer than the red, which made it taste more stodgy and less easy to spread.  And as I have said, I would tweak the black mushroom gravy mixture next time and have made some changes to the way I wrote the recipe below to take this into account.

The time that the loaf cools before cutting is also important to make sure the Aboriginal flag is clear in the slices.  I started to slice the ends about 2 hours after it came out of the oven.  It worked ok but was better when it was cooler and I think might have cut less clearly in the centre.  Ideally I would suggest slicing the loaf after it has cooled for about 3 to 4 hours or more. 

I often make a nut roast for a roast dinner with roast vegies and gravy and greens.  I didn't do this for this nut roast.  I had decided to make it within NAIDOC week, as my contribution to celebrating Indigenous culture.  The Aboriginal flag is so beautifully simple and easy to represent in cooking.  It is also such a great representation of the culture with the land (red), the people (black) and sun (yellow) existing together. 

Slices of nut roast are great with salads, or mashed potato or in a sandwich.  It also adds a beautiful pop of colour when chopped and scattered into many meals.  I have some photos above of how I used the leftovers.  They are so versatile and yummy!  From the top clockwise:

1. Chilli non carne with nutroast chunks, served with quinoa, lettuce, guacamole and plain yoghurt.
2. Pizza topped with tomato sauce, chopped nut roast, red capsicum, green olives, pineapple and cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.
3 Spinach and ricotta ravioli mixed with diced nut roast, cooked brussels sprouts, green peas, cream cheese, grated cheese and parsley.
4. Ryebread toast spread with cream cheese and grated red leicester , then a lick of tomato relish, a slice of nut roast, and some grated mozzarella cheese.

I highly recommend this Aboriginal flag nut roast if you are entertaining in NAIDOC Week or any week of the year.  It is sure to impress your guests and will make a fine contribution to many meals or pot lucks.  Just make sure you have plenty of time.  Now let's hope that American politics don't blow up next NAIDOC Week so we can have more time in the media and conversations to celebrate Australian Indigenous people.  Though I am late to post for NAIDOC Week, I will be delighted if this nut roast will contribute to celebrating the culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Previous posts for NAIDOC Week on Green Gourmet Giraffe blog:
Aboriginal flag cake for NAIDOC Week
Aboriginal Street Art in Melbourne (2) for NAIDOC Week
Aboriginal Street Art in Melbourne (3) for NAIDOC Week
Aboriginal Street Art in Melbourne (4) for NAIDOC Week
Aboriginal Street Art in Melbourne (5) for NAIDOC Week
Porridgies, children's books, racism and recognition

Aboriginal flag nut roast
An original recipe by Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes 1 medium loaf

Caramelised onions:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped

Mushroom charcoal gravy:

2 tbsp vegan butter (I used Nuttalex), or olive oil
1 cup caramelised onions (see above)
1 cup of 180g or 8 brown cap mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground wattleseed
1/2 tsp dried saltbush flakes
4 tbsp wholemeal flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp stock powder
1 tbsp Vegemite
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp of activated charcoal powder
1/4 salt, or to taste

Mushroom charcoal layer:

1 1/2 cup mushroom charcoal gravy (see above)
1 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup ground nuts

Tomato sauce:

1/2 caramelised onion (see above)
2 tbsp flour
1 cup tomato passata
2 tbsp beetroot juice concentrate
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt

Tomato layer:

1 1/4 cup tomato sauce (see above)
1 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup ground nuts

Yellow stuffing:

1/4 tsp saffron
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup ground nuts
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp salt

[NOTES on amounts:
total of 2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs and
total of 2 heaped cups (270g) of mixed whole nuts, ground - I used cashew, almonds, walnuts]

1. To caramelise the onions:

Fry the onions in olive oil over low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  They should be caramelised with just a little char.  Divide into two and allocate one half to the mushroom layer and one half to the tomato layer.

2. To make the Mushroom charcoal layer:

Firstly make the mushroom charcoal gravy.  Heat the butter or olive oil in frypan and add mushrooms and caramelised onions.  Fry, stirring occasionally, over a low heat until mushrooms are cooked with some golden brown with slightly charred edges on them.  [While mushrooms fry, measure out 1/2 cup wateer.  [Place Vegemite in a small bowl.  Gradually add the half cup of water, a little at a time so the Vegemite is mixed in.]  Add garlic, pepper, wattleseed, saltbush flakes and flour to the frypan when the mushrooms are ready.  Fry for a few minutes until the floured has browned slightly and smells cooked.  Mix in stock powder and then gradually add 1 1/2 cups of water plus the 1/2 cup water with Vegemite, mixing continually (so that you smooth out any lumps after each addition of water).  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 to 15 minutes, stirring regularly as it thickens.  Stir in the charcoal.  Check seasoning and adjust by stirring in 1/4 tsp of salt, or to taste.

Then make the gravy into nut roast mixture, place 1 1/2 cups of gravy in a small mixing bowl.  Stir in the breadcrumbs and ground nuts until well combined into a thick mixture.  Check seasoning and adjust if required.

3. To make the Tomato layer:
[4a. Note: before making this, start on the yellow stuffing by soaking saffron in water - see below]

First make the tomato sauce: Heat small saucepan over low heat and stir flour into half of the caramelised onions for about a minute.  Add passata, beetroot concentrate, vinegar, maple syrup and salt.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until thickened.  It should make about 1 1/4 cups of sauce.

Next stir in the breadcrumbs and ground nuts until well combined into a thick mixture.  Check seasoning and adjust if required.

4b To make the yellow stuffing:

First soak the saffron in the water for about 20 to 30 minutes.  [This could be done before you start on the tomato sauce, as suggested above]   Squeeze the water out of the saffron strands and discard them.

Mix saffron water with remaining ingredients until you have a stiff mixture.

5. To assemble and bake:

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper.  

Spoon all of the tomato layer into the bottom.  Roll the stuffing into a cylinder the length of the loaf tin.  Use the back of a spoon to level the tomato layer and then make a trough in the tomato layer approximately half the size of the stuffing cylinder.  Now press the stuffing cylinder into the tomato layer.  Spoon the mushroom charcoal layer on top - making sure you distribute it fairly evenly when you spoon it on so as not to disturb the stuffing shape any more than you need.  Use the back of the spoon to smooth the top.  

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until it is cooked on top and pulling away from the sides.  Cool (at least 3-4 hours) before cutting to get slices that retain the Aboriginal flag design.

NOTE: I baked mine for 30 minutes and when I turned it out, I could see the the tomato layer on the bottom was still a bit soft in the middle.  If I had not been in a hurry I might have placed it on a tray, tomato size up to bake longer.  However my oven bakes slowly so other ovens might bake it quicker.

On the Stereo:
Winchelsea Blues:
Fidel Monk

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Ideas for an Aboriginal flag on toast

On the weekend I was thinking about foodie ways to celebrate NAIDOC Week.  I love a project but sometimes it is nice to make something simple.  Sometimes we don't have the energy for fancy and fussy!  It would be ideal to post it in NAIDOC Week but I am not that organised. 

I made these below toast toppings using ingredients in the colours of the Aboriginal flag.  According to the government Flags of Australia booklet:

"The black symbolises the Aboriginal people, the red represents the earth and the colour of ochre used in Aboriginal ceremonies, and the circle of yellow represents the sun, the constant renewer of life."

Aboriginal flag on toast 1: 

  • Red: tomato relish
  • Black: mushroom charcoal gravy
  • Yellow: cheddar cheese

Verdict:  3/10. The gravy was such a black shade of black but the flavours were a bit dull.  The relish was too much flavour and too little red.  I had wanted to use a home made Napoli-style tomato sauce but ran out before the toast had a chance to wear it. 

Aboriginal flag on toast 2: 

  • Red: chopped tomato
  • Black: Vegemite
  • Yellow: cheddar cheese
Verdict:  8/10. The combination of Vegemite, tomato and cheese is a classic.  I really enjoyed this but there could have been a little less Vegemite and the colours could have been a bit brighter.  I would look for a brighter yellow cheese if doing this one again.

Aboriginal flag on toast 3: 

  • Red: chopped capsicum
  • Black: chopped kalamata olives
  • Yellow: tofu besan omelet
  • base of hummus

Verdict:  6/10. The olives and capscium went well together with the spread of hummus below to hold them on the toast.  The soft flavoursome  circule of omelet was a contrasting addition.

Aboriginal flag on toast 4: 

  • Red: chopped capsicum and tomatoes
  • Black: rinsed black beans and chopped kalamata olives
  • Yellow: tofu besan omelet
  • base of hummus 
Verdict:  9/10. This was far and away my favourite.  The beans and capsicum were fantastic contrasts.  Mushy and crunchy.  Intense and fresh.  Dark and bright.  Together with the salty savoury omelet, it was really good.

The main problem with my slices of toast as flags was that they were hard to eat without collapsing and spilling, even when I used hummus to keep it together.  The easiest way to eat them was to cut the toast into quarters in squares.  I even had a go at arranging them as the Aboriginal flag but it was pretty messy.  I like the idea of a platter of topped toast with red, yello and hard to eat - best on smaller pieces of toast and arrange on a plate as a flag.

So here are some suggestions for each colour

  • Red - tomato pasta sauce, chopped tomatoes, chopped red capsicum, red kidney beaans
  • Black - mushroom gravy, Vegemite, kalamata olives, black beans, roast eggplant, cooked mushrooms, activated charcoal coloured food
  • Yellow - cheese, omelet, hummus, corn, yellow capsicum, saffron coloured food, turmeric coloured food

You could even consider a sweet platter with toppings on bread or mini pancakes such as nutella, strawberry jam and honey.  The combinations are endless.

Saturday 13 July 2024

Street Art in Melbourne: Aboriginal art (5) for NAIDOC Week 2024

This year NAIDOC Week falls on 7-14 July.  This is a time to celebrate Indigenous culture in Australia.  This year's theme is ‘Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud’.  Over my years of blogging I have published a few posts on Aboriginal street art (see links at end of post).

This year is a special year to acknowledge the pride and resilience of the Indigenous culture.  Last October the majority of the country voted against an Indigenous advisory Voice to Parliament in a referendum.  Despite the majority saying no, there were many disappointed citizens who have great respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and had put a lot of energy into campaigning.  But most of all it was a terrible moment for Indigenous people, reinforcing a sense of not being valued and increasing the racism that is a part of their lives.  So pride and resilience are important qualities to celebrate this year.  

The street art featuring Aboriginal culture shows its richness and diversity.  The mural in the top photo (Brunswick Place, Fitzroy) is lovely because it expresses the eagle (Bunjil?) protecting and nurturing the culture of Indigenous people.

This native flower is part of the above mural.  I cannot identify it.  Sadly I feel as unsure about indigenous flora as I do about Indigenous people.  I wish I had better knowledge of the culture of the land where I live.  It all looks familiar but it sometimes seems less harder to identify than all our imported culture.

This photo and the one below are 'traditional' Indigenous paintings from the Yarra Youth Centre in Napier Street, Fitzroy.  One thing I do know about Indigenous culture is that European colonisation disrupted the culture, especially in the South East of Australia where I live.  My ancestors have made it difficult to understand what is traditional and what isn't.

As an aside, it was only recently, when I saw a video of my grandmother talking about her grandparents clearing the land for farming, that I had to question what happened to the Aboriginal people who had lived on that land for many generations.  I am not sure there are any answers because this experience is not part of my family's story of their history.



This artwork looks like the clapsticks of Aboriginal music.  It is on Leslie Street on the corner by Victoria Street in Brunswick, near to The JazzLab - Bennetts Lane Jazz Club Brunswick.


This artwork is on the Clothing the Gaps store in Sydney Road Brunswick (north of Albion Street).  It was painted before the vote for the Voice Referendum that I referred to at the start of this post.  The referendum was held on 14 October and there were many hopeful signs saying Yes around the country.


This mural of the Brisbane Lions AFL football club on the wall of the Royal Derby Hotel (corner of Brunswick Street and Alexander Parade in Fitzroy) has been there for a while.  It features Kevin 'Bulldog' Murray, Fitzroy football club hero of 1960s; Jonathan Brown, a Brisbane Lions hero of more recent years, and Gunditjmara man Chris Johnson who played for Fitzroy and then was one of the players who moved to Brisbane with the club.  Chris Johnson is one of the many amazing Indigenous footy players in the AFL.

This painting of the badge saying "Condoman says use condoms" made me nostalgic, and not in the way you might be thinking with a snigger!  I remember seeing the Condoman artwork when I worked in an Aboriginal centre years ago.  Mind you, that was not as far back as the 1980s when apparently it was used in Indigenous safe sex campaigns!

This large mural of federal Senator Lidia Thorpe embodies the NAIDOC theme of ‘Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud’.  The artwork is by Jeswri, a Gadigal (Sydney) artist now based in Melbourne and includes the text "Treaty: teach them blak history."  It depicts her wearing a traditional possum cloak.  She is a fierce advocate for the Aboriginal community, though she can be a divisive influence as was seen during the Voice Referendum. 

I included this small artwork on Piera Street in East Brunswick opposite the Lidia Thorpe mural because it is cute and I noticed that there is no Aboriginal flag on the rest of the artwork featured.

The people at Reynard Street Neighbourhood House (formerly Robinson Reserve Neighbourhood House) have again done some fantastic art to brighten up Robinson Reserve!  There are lots of hands with "welcome" written in many langauges.  This one has "Wominjeka", which means welcome in the Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri people in Melbourne. (Our city is also referred to as Naarm by the Aboriginal community and is being seen increasingly in non-Aboriginal media and documents).

This colourful artwork on the side of the public toilets in Robinson Reserve, possible connected to the Neighbourhood House, is of a Barrawarn (Magpie) and Manerlong (Native blue banded bee).  The mural  notes say it is by Tye Luke and Sean Miller with The Torch, and it was was blessed by Wurundieri - (Wol Wurrung Elder Uncle Bill Nicholson on the 18th November 2023.


Previous posts for NAIDOC Week on Green Gourmet Giraffe blog:
Aboriginal flag cake for NAIDOC Week
Aboriginal Street Art in Melbourne (2) for NAIDOC Week
Aboriginal Street Art in Melbourne (3) for NAIDOC Week
Aboriginal Street Art in Melbourne (4) for NAIDOC Week
Porridgies, children's books, racism and recognition 
Street Art in Melbourne #6 Aboriginal art for Sorry Day

Wednesday 10 July 2024

Street Art in Melbourne: Carlton


I have seen some interesting Carlton street art recently.  So I have dug out some old Carlton street art photos, dating back to 2015.  Some have been replaced at least more than once such as the above 2019 artwork on Elgin Street on the side of the Clyde Hotel on the corner of Cardigan Street.

This is the picture that is currently where the top photo used to be.  It is sort of gross but the burger is quite cute.  Sylvia tells me the long pink shape is his colon because it will no longer fit inside once he has stuffed that burger in.

In the same laneway is this odd picture.  The phone looks like a brick from the 1990s and the kitty cat headphones or ear muffs looks ridiculously cute.  I wish I knew the faces but I don't.  Please enlighten me if you do.

Also in the laneway is this cynical anime character.  She is probably most displeased at being out the back with the bins.


With a tram terminus for many of Melbourne's tram lines in Swanston St, it is no surprise to find this artwork of a tram in an alley off Lygon Street between Faraday and Grattan Streets.  When I took the photo in 2015 it was in better condition than it was last time I saw it.


The artworks above and below are from North Carlton - somewhere near Canning Street but 2017 is a long time ago.

 I meant to post these years ago but didn't!

This artwork on a house near the Princess Hill section of the City Circle bike path was seen in 2020.  Back then when we were in the midst of covid lockdowns, it was comforting to see a the writing "home is where the heart is".  Recently I saw that the same house is now a blank wall.


I do not remember this street art from 2021 but it was there in my photos with the young man on a mobile phone, seemingly oblivious to the demolition of a building - the Corkman Hotel perhaps?

Now we arrive at this year's photos (2024).  This cheerful bird is on a signal box by University College on College Crescent.  Those who know the area know that this is actually Parkville but  I could claim it is de facto Carlton as it was originally Carlton in the days when Carlton was so full of slums that the University of Melbourne preferred a Parkville address!


In the courtyard of the North Carlton Library opposite Curtin Square is wall of artwork about sustainability.

Off Park Street near the corner of Nicholson Street.

I love the green hues of this street art of bicycles on the wall of Velo Cycles at the corner of Park and Nicholson Streets.

I was surprised to see this political piece of artwork on a lane off the North Carlton shopping strip on Nicholson Street.  It is a picture of former LNP conservative Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison who was voted out in 2022.  Maybe it is still there because he notoriously took a lump of coal into Parliament to tell people not to fear it.  Now the LNP Opposition leader is claiming that nuclear power is Australia's solution to climate change, despite Australia is a perfect place for solar energy and has a ban on nuclear power.

These last three pieces of street art are from a small lane behind Nicholson Street.  I loved how this picture had a bride with kangaroos (or wallabies) and birds, like a modern day Australian version of cinderella.

This wall has a tree with birds and a question: "where have all the birds gone?" All I could think that there were no trees in this little lane.


Although no trees in the lane, there are still trees in some backyards.  And love on fences.  That will have to do for now!


More inner north Melbourne street art on Green Gourmet Giraffe blog: