Story by Trevor McAlister
Every project has a beginning and an ending.  It begins when somebody with imagination, energy and leadership skills identifies a need and goes after the solution.  Epping Rotary Club is always looking for projects that will benefit the local community and OIC Peter Garrard saw the need and had the energy.
You may know somebody like Peter Garrard.  He is the sort of person who having identified a need, pursues the solution with all the ferocity of a Jack Russel Terrier with the scent of a live rat in its nostrils.
A community garden.  Why shouldn’t a community have its own garden with beds for tomatoes and mint and cauliflowers, cabbage, spinach, mint, lettuce, parsley and cucumber?  Why not add an orchard with trees laden with lemons mandarins, oranges, apples and avocados and a banana plantation into the equation?  It could be useful to have a place where people would talk to their neighbours while pulling a few weeds or collecting some mint for the Sunday roast.  It might be a place where people could sit and write things or contemplate the world or listen to fascinating tales about the birds and the bees and the snails and what it is that makes things grow. 
The problem was that community gardens do not grow on trees.  Who has the thousands of dollars needed for such a thing?  Peter had a thought: John Alexander, Member for Bennelong.  He might be able to lay his hands on a few thousand spare dollars.  And so began the paperwork.  There were masses of it.  Peter was good at paperwork.  He had many years of practice in a previous life when shovelling it between Government Departments.  There is an old adage about the squeaking door attracting attention.  Peter squeaked the door and in time, it yielded forth currency. 
Peter’s next task was to recruit a labour force who might be willing to work for free and in the open air without any benefits of air conditioning and shelter.  They would need to be willing to risk exposure to the sun, flies, mosquitos and other natural torments in order to put it all together.  In Epping Rotary Club there could be found such people.  The Club had previously carried out many successful projects.  The rewards were immense.  By the end of a project, everyone will have new friends and will have the personal satisfaction of having made an important contribution to the community.
Peter knew about the saws and hammers and the nails and screws that would be needed to build the beds and to create the outcome that his imagination had conceived.  Epping Rotary Club was the source of people who could do this.  It is the sort of Club in which no matter how inept anyone might feel, everyone has an important part to play.  Despite having a fragile back, a weak bladder, an unreliable pacemaker or an eighty-five-year-old body, everybody’s skills are valued. 
The Club responded to Peter’s ideas.  With its sleeves rolled up and a united determination to see the work completed, everybody was swept along with the tide of the Club’s enthusiasm.
Materials were sourced.  Sometimes with great difficulty.  A certain large establishment did its best to throw as many obstacles into the pathway leading to the “check out” as they could.  Their repeated failure to make an arrangement and then stick to it, was maddening.  Whole days were wasted waiting for materials to arrive.  But eventually the materials and the team was assembled and the work could begin.
With so many contributing, it would be unwise to try to name anyone in particular.  Nevertheless, mention must be made of a lady of strength who lifted and carried planks of great weight.  She wielded a saw and hammer with the ferocity of a woodchopper at a Royal Easter Show event.  Others cleared the weeds and shovelled the dirt without fear of blisters or regard to the centipedes, spiders and other stinging creatures that might be lurking.  Another prepared a banquet in order that the team might be resuscitated, while somebody else whose fastidiousness was legendary, made certain everything was carried out to within plus or minus 0.5mm degrees of accuracy.
In due course a shed was purchased with the finances approved.  A team travelled in and out of Covid infected North Epping in order to lay the concrete and use the Allen keys supplied to assemble the shed. 
There was a compost bin created in order that live worms and other useful ingredients required for a productive soil might be cultivated.  Two light boxes to nurture the little plants and keep them safe were put together.  Five tables and seats were unpacked and more Allen keys and volunteer personnel were employed.   A photo opportunity was sought and the completed garden recorded on iPhone images.  The outcome was breathtaking.
The project is now complete.  Epping Rotary Club has made one more impressive contribution to the community.  There is one final task to be carried out.  It will be one of the last jobs of the Local Member before he retires to cut a ribbon and declare the project “open”.