Proposed Constitution Changes 2023 Part 1

Part 2 here

These changes clarify the “full community meeting” definition and change membership pricing.

1 Definitions

Add the definition of the full community meeting

(1) In this constitution:

full community meeting means: like an AGM in other organisations, an annual meeting for all association members.

8 Fees and subscriptions

(1) A member of the association must pay to the association an annual membership fee of $5 or, if some other amount is determined by the general-circle, that other amount: $1 minimum or a donation to be determined by the member.

Check the necessity of the following paragraphs! (a) & (b)

(a) except as provided by paragraph (b), before the first day of the financial year of the association in each calendar year, or

(b) if the member becomes a member on or after the first day of the financial year of the association in any calendar year—on becoming a member and before the first day of the financial year of the association in each succeeding calendar year.

15 Election of general-circle members

Change from digital dictation to witnessed dictation

(a) must be made in writing, signed by 2 members of the association and accompanied by the written consent of the candidate (which may be endorsed on the form of the nomination), a hand written or witnessed dictation of the role description and

The following changes all relate to the removal of president role

14 Composition and membership of general-circle

President and vice president removed, total general circle number

(1) The general-circle is to consist of:

(a) the office-bearers of the association, and

(b) at least 3 and up to 5 ordinary general-circle members,

each of whom is to be elected at the annual full community meeting of the association under clause 15.

Note. Section 28 of the Act contains further requirements concerning eligibility for membership and composition of the general-circle.

(2) The total number of general-circle members is to be 7.

(3) The office-bearers of the association are as follows:

(a) the treasurer,

(b) the secretary.

(4) A general-circle member may hold up to 2 offices (other than both the offices of president and vice-president).

(5)(4) There is no maximum number of consecutive terms for which a general-circle member may hold office.


(5) Convene general circle meetings

19 Removal of general-circle members

(2) If a member of the general-circle to whom a proposed resolution referred to in subclause (1) relates makes representations in writing to the secretary or president (not exceeding a reasonable length) and requests that the representations be notified to the members of the association, the secretary or the president may send a copy of the representations to each member of the association or, if the representations are not so sent, the member is entitled to require that the representations be read out at the meeting at which the resolution is considered.

20 general-circle meetings and quorum

(1) The general-circle must meet at least 3 times in each period of 12 months at the place and time that the general-circle may determine.

(2) Additional meetings of the general-circle may be convened by the president the secretary or by any member of the general-circle.

(3) Oral or written notice of a meeting of the general-circle must be given by the secretary to each member of the general-circle at least 48 hours (or any other period that may be unanimously agreed on by the members of the general-circle) before the time appointed for the holding of the meeting.

(4) Notice of a meeting given under subclause (3) must specify the general nature of the business to be transacted at the meeting and no business other than that business is to be transacted at the meeting, except business which the general-circle members present at the meeting unanimously agree to treat as urgent business.

(5) Any 3 members of the general-circle constitute a quorum for the transaction of the business of a meeting of the general-circle.

(6) No business is to be transacted by the general-circle unless a quorum is present and if, within half an hour of the time appointed for the meeting, a quorum is not present, the meeting is to stand adjourned to the same place and at the same hour of the same day in the following week.

(7) If at the adjourned meeting a quorum is not present within half an hour of the time appointed for the meeting, the meeting is to be dissolved.

(8) At a meeting of the general-circle:

(a) the president or, in the president’s absence, the vice-president is to preside, or

(b) if the president and the vice-president are absent or unwilling to act, one of the remaining members of the general-circle chosen by the members present at the meeting is to preside.

30 Presiding member

(1) The president or, in the president’s absence, the vice-president, is to preside as chairperson at each full community meeting of the association

(2) If the president and the vice-president are absent or unwilling to act, the members present must elect one of their number to preside as chairperson at the meeting.


Things to do in August

Seeds to and seedlings to plant directly

Seed climbing beans, dwarf beans, cape gooseberry. Seedlings to plant out include: coriander, beetroot, sunflower,

Plant in punnets

These things do best when planted in punnets or trays… growing things from seed requires a lot of attention so if you’re new, you’re jumping in the deep end here, but you can plant things like beetroot, capsicum, carrots, celery, chilies, chives, coriander, cucumber, eggplant, leeks, lettuce, luffa, potato, pumpkin, silver-beet, zucchini.

Chicken house upgrade

We need to build some laying boxes and perches in the existing chicken shed. The needs to accommodate more chickens (somewhere between 7 and 30).


June Working Bee Plan

Come and join in for some gardening on Sunday 4th June at 9am.

Any of the empty crop circles can be composted and replanted out with the following.

  • Cabbage – plant seedlings
  • Garlic – plant cloves
  • Lettuce, beetroot, onion – plant out seeds or seedlings
  • Radish, Snow Peas (also Sugar Peas, Mangetout, Chinese Peas) – sow seeds

Let us know if you can source some seeds or seedlings.

Concrete extravaganza

We need to concrete in some posts for

  • bocce fence
  • chicken gate
  • dragon fruit stands

Mucho Mulch Moving

We have a bunch of mulch and a bunch of cardboard, so we can get busy sheet mulching!


April Working Bee


Seeking Ceramicist

We are looking for a ceramicist to help us plan our olla workshops. The final aim of our project is to run community workshops where participants can make a clay olla to donate to the garden.

Our research has determined that the best way to do this is to make a set of moulds that participants can use to make two half ollas and combine them.
If possible we would pit fire the ollas on site to reduce transportation and the financial/environmental cost of kiln firing.

Unglazed terracotta pot with cap.

We will apply for grant funding to cover the cost of research, experimentation, documentation and training of garden volunteers to replicate moulds and run the workshops. There is the opportunity for the ceramicist to stay on board to facilitate the workshops which will be a paid role but will also involve sharing water wastage/conservation stories.

If you are interested, please provide an estimate of your costs including materials for moulds and test firings by Wed 9th March. We also welcome questions, suggestions and collaborations.


Current Projects

Cleaning and Improving Cubby Space

We’d like to spend some time improving the area around the cubby to accommodate for the many children who visit it daily, so this will include

  • removing rubbish
  • removing weeds
  • mulching exposed soil
  • planting flowers
  • removing sleepers
    • The good sleepers will be kept for entrance gateway (below)
    • The scrappy sleepers can be used to make more bluetounge habitat around the garden

Sleeper gateway

Make an entrance gateway using the old sleepers, like this.

Chicken house upgrade

We need to build some laying boxes and perches in the existing chicken shed. The needs to accommodate more chickens (somewhere between 7 and 30).

2nd half of Granite path

A pathway has been marked out for a path that runs through the garden. The process will be to wet and put lime down on this space before covering with cardboard and then 5cm of granite. There should be 30cm of extra cardboard protruding out from the path so that our mulch can overlap. all the grass areas in the garden will be mulched. We may re introduce a no-mow or low mow variety in the future.

Prepare sign

Scrape the flaky paint off the sign. Use a sheet to catch paint flakes. Prime the sign for painting.

Fix bocce fence

Please get in touch if fixing fences is your thing.

Sheet mulching

The aim is to eradicate cooch grass form the entire community garden, so once the cropping section is sheet mulched we can work our way in to the northern “Food Forrest” section.


How to get an ABN if you’re an incorporated association

We ran into a lot of difficulty going through this process.

The Problem

The difficulty was that we could not complete the ABN registration process on the ABR website because we didn’t have an ACN (kill me now). ASIC manages ACNs and said we didn’t need one for and ABN, call the ABR. The ABR says we do need an ACN, call ASIC. After mentioning all this to the ABR, they said “don’t worry about the error message, just keep clicking, which unsurprisingly, didnt work.

The solution

Was to leave the ACN blank, but this was only acceptable by the form if a TFN was provided, so that was the solution. Provide a TFN.

Not for profit status

(We haven’t completed this at time of writing)

  • Charities must be endorsed by the ATO to be exempt from income tax.
  • Before a charity can be endorsed, it must be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. REQUIRES ABN
  • Organisations that are not charities can self-assess (that is, work out for themselves) whether they are exempt from income tax.

This clause to be added into constitution:
‘The assets and income of the organisation shall be applied solely to further its objects and no portion shall be distributed directly or indirectly to the members of the organisation except as genuine compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the organisation.’
‘In the event of the organisation being dissolved, all assets that remain after such dissolution and the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities shall be transferred to another organisation with similar purposes, which is charitable at law and which has rules prohibiting the distribution of its assets and income to its members.’


2021 Roundup™

It was a strange year, as prolonged periods of lock-down and no public events to serve as mementos, messed with our collective perception of the passage of time. You may be surprised to be reminded that these things happened…

Fig Tree was reborn as Smokva Garden in collaboration with the Croatian Club.

Smokva started collecting compost from Momo wholefood cafe, kick starting a rhythm on weekly compost creation which has totaled about 40 cubic meters of compost added back into our soil from 4.5 tons of food scraps!

We have been making our own bokashi starter culture which has allowed Momo to store their food waste outside of their fridge and for households to collect their waste in a 20L bucket over the course of 3 weeks before bringing it in to the garden – no smells!

The neighboring preschool has been bringing their compost over in an army of tiny wheel barrows, which is a sight to behold.

Bridie Piaf came and wrote a wonderful article about our garden which featured on the cover of Earth Garden magazine.

We have advertised for a paid position making our compost. This is targeted to be an ideal first ever job for someone who would like to make connections in the community and build references.

We have become an authorised organisation, advertising for an over 55yo job seeker to do regular maintenance at the garden.

We have replaced all the railway sleeper garden beds with rejuvenated ground beds and eradicated all the couch grass. Reducing the mowing requirements by about 30%. Many vegetable are growing out of this space at the moment including, rainbow chard, beetroot, kale, silverbeet, beans, corn, pumpkin, zucchini, tomato, okinawa spinach, warrigal greens, rhubarb and more! These are being regularly harvested by gardeners and the public, some of which have made voluntary donations ranging from $2 to $200.

We have 7 chickens who get visits from multiple families every day, donating scraps and collecting eggs.

We have a team of 5 who water the garden on a daily basis as required.

We received a $1000 grant for building a path through the garden which is 50% complete.

We have been increasing the plant diversity at the garden, planting out more things like pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, garlic, tumeric, coffee, davidson plum, monstera deliciosa, avocado, arrowroot and grumichama. Most fruit trees have been professionally pruned, composted and mulched.

Achieving our Mission

Bring a diverse group of Newcastle’s inner west residents together in a beautiful community garden to, provide social opportunities, education and to grow and distribute healthy food on a neighbourhood scale. 👉 Mission, Objective & Philosophy.

We have brought a large group of residents together and made huge improvements to the beauty of our garden space. Each of the working bees have been great social opportunities and we have had several shared meals. Many new friendships have been made. We held one workshop in collaboration with the Seed Library and have two more scheduled. There is regular produce available at the garden including consistent leafy greens, beets, beans, eggs and seasonal fruit from the trees.

The community that comes to the garden is largely centered around the social group of the core participants however we are seeing more participation from people who pass through the space. We should prioritise signage to help the neighbourhood get involved. We should also invite other specific communities to get involved with posters and flyers.


Job Seeker Volunteer Position – Grounds and Maintenance

We have a grounds and maintenance position available at the Croatian Club which meets Centerlink’s mutual obligation requirements as explained here.

Smokva is a community garden in Wickham. A loose group of about 50 locals pull together to grow as much food as possible in their neighbourhood. We we could really do with some help with some of the weekly tasks such as mowing, trimming, general tidying of the grounds and maintenance.

If this interests you, we would love to hear from you. Please write to or call Adrian on 0435828690


Making a crushed granite path

This weekend we started work on our pathway, with help from Andrew, Freddy and Aaron.

Our goal is to have it 1.4m wide so that two wheel barrows can pass abreast and people in wheelchairs can turn around at any point.

The process

  1. We rake back the mulch which has been killing the grass underneath revealing the cardboard.
  2. Apply another layer of cardboard, making sure to leave no holes or gaps.
  3. Spread granite 5cm thick. Taking care that it does not slide under the cardboard and lift it up because this would lead to flaps of cardboard coming through the path.
  4. Use the protruding edge of cardboard to either lay more cardboard for mulching the surrounding areas or back fill with mulch if the area is already mulched. It will much easier to deal with grass coming through mulch than granite.
  5. Rake out evenly over time as the ground becomes compacted with walking and rain.