A State of variety

» Broadacre Estates » Maidstone & Braybrook » Latrobe Valley » Doveton & Eumemmerring » Long Gully & Eaglehawk

Maidstone & Braybrook

Armchair travel in the outer south west

The broad-acre estates of Maidstone and Braybrook are in the outer south-western suburbs of Melbourne. Forty per cent of the residents are of Vietnamese background.

The community cultural development processes at Braybrook and Maidstone are based on an evolving strategy of small-scale events and not on one-off spectaculars.

The emphasis is on long-term growth across many different social groups.

This includes a series of events called Armchair Travel, aimed at increasing inter-cultural understanding.

For example, armchair travelers can sit back and enjoy an exploration of Vietnamese culture at the Maidstone Community Centre. Planned and achieved with people from the local Quang Ming Temple, the event presented Vietnamese musicians, singers, dancers and a visiting linguist. The climax was a display of food carving and sculpture by a highly respected expert from Sydney, an exhibition of skill which greatly impressed not only the audience of armchair travelers but also the local Vietnamese community.

Owned by the People

Another cultural process undertaken at Braybrook and Maidstone has produced a mural on the back walls of the Braybrook Community Centre. The mural, painted by local street artists supported by artsworker Amanda Neville, is a bold statement which, since its creation, has never been tagged. After all, it belongs to the resident youth and is therefore considered sacrosanct.

The mural is adjacent to a barren expanse. In 2005, this will become a Neigbourhood Garden designed, sculpted and cared for by local residents. It will be used for individual garden plots, performances and visual arts installations. Overall the projects at Braybrook and Maidstone signify that community cultural development and Neigbourhood Renewal do share a number of common elements; amongst them the desire to create vibrant places where people want to live.