Press Release/Open Letter

Gates to be locked at Barwon Heads Community Arts Garden

The Barwon Heads Community Arts Garden became an institution in the town almost the day the first sod was turned.  It is known to residents as a beautiful and productive garden, and to many casual visitors as a peaceful stopover.
March 2018 will see the 10th anniversary of the garden.  The BHCAG Committee is working towards celebrating this event in style with members and with the wider community.
Sadly, since the garden opened, thefts have been regular occurrences.  Plotholders in the garden report many instances each year when their produce is taken from the garden before they can enjoy the fruits (literally) of their labours.  In many Committee meetings over the years, we have discussed ideas to minimise these thefts.  We have implemented many of the ideas, with some success.
Vandalism has also be on ongoing issue, requiring significant effort and expense to fix and prevent.

We have always wished to keep the garden a place open to all visitors at all times.

Recently however, theft has become more regular and more serious.  The garden is being systematically stripped of many of its artworks and other assets.  People (not members) have been observed helping themselves to large amounts of produce they have had no hand in either planting, caring for or watering. 

The Committee has continued to discuss theft at every meeting and to take all reasonable actions open to us.  Thefts have been reported to the police and some thieves have been spoken to by police.
Members and plotholders have become disheartened by all the thefts.  Some have discontinued their association with the Garden.  The Committee is concerned that the thefts could ultimately destroy the Garden by taking away people’s willingness to be involved.

We suspect that the stealing is the activity of only a small number of people.  We have formed the view that the thieves won't change their course while the Garden is “open access”.
The Committee has decided to take the serious step of locking the garden, and restricting key access to the people who support the garden.  This is a public statement that we will protect this asset for all the Community to enjoy, and not allow unscrupulous persons to spoil it for all the Community.

The Committee will focus our energies on ways to make it accessible to those who value it for much more than what they can steal.  We want it to be a "welcoming but secure" garden and we will invest in that, rather than in likely futile attempts to catch and change the thieves.

If you’d like to be involved in making our Community Garden a continuing part of our town, or to discuss this issue, please contact us at

Chris Bowly, President, BHCAG.  10th December , 2017