"I’m a retired nurse and have lived in Southbank for 27 years. We made the decision to move here by accident. We actually thought we were moving to South Melbourne but then the council borders changed and the City of Melbourne took over. It’s funny looking back because at the time my husband was upset as he’d grown up in South Melbourne and shared a strong connection to the area.

Twenty-seven years ago the move was a major shock. We’d lived in a house with a half-acre garden and wanted to downsize when our son moved out, and suddenly found ourselves on the eighth floor of an 11-storey high rise. If we’d thought more about it we might not have done it but we’re very comfortable with our decision now.

We were some of the first residents in our building. We used to be able to see the Elizabeth Street clock tower in the early days but of course that’s now been eclipsed. We do see clusters of lights every night and we’re hoping to keep that view. I don’t take it for granted though: every morning I stand at the window and look at the view and it’s magic, it really is. When the sun comes up it’s quite exciting to watch. I just love the big sky and clouds.

High rise living suits us well. There’s so many benefits – access to public transport, such as trains, busses, and the freeways. At the beginning it was a struggle to foster a community feeling in a high rise but after 27 years we know what we’re doing. There’s book clubs, canasta club and of course SSG is very important to me.

The guerrilla gardening group started in 2017 with a group of ladies and a gentleman who created a garden near the flyover. I joined a little later helping to look after the veggies such as broad beans, artichokes, passion fruit and flowers.

The City of Melbourne saw what the group was doing and became interested in supporting us. They gave us some green planters outside Boyd Community Hub and asked us to help look after them. Suddenly we had 12 wicking beds and we were beside ourselves – we had dirt! Council has been very supportive right from the start.

Since then we’ve been asked to introduce local children to gardening and attended some of the playgroups in the area. Sometimes we arrive and the kids are covered from head to toe, with goggles and gloves. The gloves are always the first things to come off as they begin to start playing with the dirt, some for the first time.

We are a culturally and age diverse group and I have learnt a lot from the other members."

SSG group members and friends Seema Misra Thakur, Faye McDonald and Lily Bednikov

SSG group members and friends Seema Misra Thakur, Faye McDonald and Lily Bednikov

​Find out more

Southbank Sustainability Group is a solutions-focussed community group of dedicated Southbank volunteers. Members host workshops and events helping people improve sustainability and reduce the environmental footprint in Southbank.

If you’re interested in getting involved, send the group an email or come to one of the fortnightly meetups.

Learn more about City of Melbourne’s Gardens for Wildlife program.

Southbank Neighbourhood Portal

Our Neighbourhood Portals are full of great information to get the most out of living, working and playing in the City of Melbourne.