The Village Green project at Woodbridge is ready to start taking steps forward again after the completion of a lengthy, four year process to see the transfer of the land for the project from a generous local donor, into the hands of the Woodbridge Community Association.
The Woodbridge Community Association (WCA) has been fundraising, planning and designing the Village Green project to create a multipurpose gathering and picnic area, historical information path and memorial, set in the midst of a botanical delight that the local community and visiting tourists can enjoy.
Member of the WCA, Peter Leschen is the driving force behind the project and speaks passionately about the connection to the past and the opportunities for the future that he wants to see developed, especially the memorial, which will honour all the soldiers from the area who have served their country.
Mr Leshen and the WCA have also been working hard to ensure the support of the community for the project, with the RSL, South Channel Garden Club, Birches Bay Art Farm and Woodbridge Primary School all being consulted and having interests in different areas of the Village Green they will be able to connect with.
As well as connecting to the past with the memorial, the Village Green will also have a series of historical interpretation panels installed along a winding path through the garden, which will aim to inform visitors about different eras of history from the Channel area.
Preliminary ideas for the panels include, the Indigenous history, convict settlement, transport, the 1967 bushfires and early industry such as timber and whaling.
Another way of connecting the area’s history to the present will be the use of some timbers from the old Woodbridge jetty in the construction of a new picnic area and platform, positioned carefully to maximise the Channel vistas, where Mr Leschen envisions events and family gatherings taking place.
As well as the organic gatherings that Mr Leschen believes will occur here, the WCA have thoughts about organising events such as a local Carols by Candlelight and other seasonal celebrations.
With fundraising having been in action for the past four years while awaiting the land transfer, the WCA has managed to secure grant money from the Tas Community Fund and the Kingborough Council to contribute to the development of the project which they expect will be able to commence within the next 2-3 months.
When completed, the WCA plan to host working bees to keep the area neat, although the final result is aimed at being low maintenance.
Further benefits to the development will arise from the connection of the Village Green project to the local Anglican church, allowing them to relocate their entry away from the current, hazardous set-up located right on the Channel Highway.
Local parishioner Rex Williams is excited for the opportunity to integrate St Simon and St Jude’s Church, the eldest in the Channel area, into the Village Green project through a new pathway and lynch gate leading people inside, especially after the community nearly lost the building in the recent sale of property instigated by the Anglican Church.
“The Channel/Cygnet Anglican Parish views the development of the village green quite excitedly, says Mr Williams.
“St Simon and St Jude's Church is already a beacon in the lives of Woodbridge folk but the opportunity for locals and visitors alike to experience the church in a very non-threatening way is a blessing.
“The close association with the WCA's village green project will do that.”
With hopes of connecting the community and giving people a beautiful, relaxing place to gather, Mr Leschen and the Woodbridge Community Association plan on seeing the project through to completion as soon as they can and are delighted by the idea of seeing their vision realised through the enjoyment of those who come to experience the Village Green.
Pictured above: Peter Leschen and Rex Williams are enthusiastic about the benefits and connections that will be offered by the Village Green project which they are hopeful will begin within the next 2-3 months. The site of the development for the Village Green project will incorporate the local church, a winding historical walk, a war memorial and a picnic area.
MAP: The design plan for the Village Green, drawn by Graeme Corney, showing the layout of the paths, the picnic platform area, the memorial, the views out over the Channel and the connections to the church and the village of Woodbridge.