These photographs of a Sydney Red Gum (angophora costata) and cave were taken at Balls Head Reserve, Waverton.
Originally named Yerroulbine by the Cammeraygal people connected with this place, the Reserve today is a small urban forest jutting into Sydney Harbour.
A tiny stretch of land with an interesting story of abuse and rehabilitation, it was first claimed for industrial use by the Australian Army in 1912 and was used for a coal loading facility between the 1920s and 1990s.
Walking around today, with bird life, lizards and trees thriving, it's only when you stop to read some of the signs around the site that you realise just how severe the damage was and how much incredible work has gone into bringing it literally 'back to life'.
One sign, at the top of the reserve, shows a black and white photograph taken in the early 1930s, when the top of the headland was completely denuded of trees . During the Depression years, when some of the city's homeless and destitute took shelter in the caves dotted around the site, the trees had been chopped down for fire-wood or sale. In the photograph, only the trees on the difficult to access lower edges of the headland remain. The NSW Parliament website describes how shanty towns of homeless people sprang up in many areas during this time. You can still see many of the dug-out caves at Balls Head Reserve today.
These days, the reserve is home to a thriving pocket of angophoras which are well managed by the volunteers and rangers. There are plenty of tracks with amazing views of the harbour, two community gardens and the Coal Loader Sustainability Centre - which, as an education facility, tells a new history for this area themed on sustainable living practices.
2021 will mark 90 years since locals advocated for and led a push to rebeautify Balls Head and surrounding sites and it will be nice to acknowledge their living legacy and forward thinking.
Collaborating with Hatha Yoga Desha, an established yoga studio in Sydney's inner west, My Tiny HQ recently facilitated a colour analysis workshop.
Nothing to do with yoga, the session began by talking about why we were doing this – nobody present being interested in shopping more, nor in abandoning their right to freedom of expression!
Having had my colours done a few years ago and knowing how environmentally and financially depleting relentless fashion consumption can be, I wanted to share a way to save money and encourage creativity; to give a few tips about recognising which colours work best without make-up and which could be useful for occasions like travel and job interviews.
Learning about colour in this way, I've happily worn all sorts since but these days I wear less makeup and I can elect to wear certain colours for special situations.
That's really quite a lot of positive things that came out of a wintery afternoon several years ago and it's why I approached Hatha Yoga Desha (HYD) with my idea for a collaboration, using the studio as a venue.
The workshop was developed as a low-cost small group exercise for HYD students. Lasting two hours, each person took a turn as the subject, while the rest participated in the ‘analysis’ - seeing the visual effect of colours on themselves and others. The group was guided to shift attention from the colour samples to observe how light changed and reflected on the face.
Some were faster than others to make the shift but by the time we were half way through the session everyone had the feel for it and was relaxed and enjoying themselves, especially the group approach. Mission accomplished. And that really was all there was to it! A short, sweet, useful and playful way to promote sustainable fashion consumption.
If you'd like to read more on this subject and get some tips about getting the most from your clothes, check out this website by Anuschka Rees.