Cafes, community, and Christmas: meet the Scullin locals revitalising their once-neglected shops

Lucy Ridge 15 December 2021 9
Sue White and Emily Brindley

Sue White and Emily Brindley have both been involved in the revitalisation of the Scullin Shops. Photo: Supplied.

The efforts of a small group of dedicated local volunteers have yielded fantastic results at the once-neglected Scullin Shops.

Three years ago, fed up with the state of the shops and inspired by a conversation about community responsibility at the school fete, Scullin Community Group (SCG) president Sue White said to committee member Emily Brindley: “You know what? Let’s revitalise the Scullin shops.”

“We didn’t have any clue how it would be done. We just said we were going to do it and people got really excited about it.”


READ ALSO: Redbrick celebrates 10 years of coffee and community in Curtin


Sue has since gathered a team of dedicated volunteers who form the backbone of the SCG committee.

“We realised that lots of people wanted to do something, they just didn’t know what to do or how to do it,” Sue told Region Media.

“So really, that’s what the Scullin Community Group has done. We’ve been the initiators of ‘this is how you can do things’, but also just giving a framework for people to have their own ideas.”

Two people paint a colourful mural

Indigenous artist David Cragg painting the new mural at Scullin shops with Karla Hayes. Photo: Supplied.

So far, they have greened the courtyard – “our town square” – with planter boxes and flowers, received grants to fund two colourful murals, and inspired a string of street libraries. They even had their own shop: The Scullin Traders, which operated from May 2019 to March 2020. It was a volunteer-run pop-up fundraiser, but it was also an important step in showcasing the potential of the space.

“We wanted to see how a shop would go here and try to encourage businesses to move in there,” Ms Brindley explained.

“But mainly, it was a really great meeting point to meet other community members, and people were so excited that something else was happening down at the shops.”


READ ALSO: Eat global, shop local: little supermarkets hold big secrets


The Scullin Traders wrapped up in March 2020, but its legacy has continued to create positive change in Scullin. Two SCG committee members decided to purchase the space and were determined to lease it to a cafe. After early offers fell through, they turned to Emily and her husband Russell, the owners of the popular Sweet Bones cafe and bakery in Braddon. Emily says it was meant to be.

“We weren’t exactly looking for a second location, but we kind of manifested it! I just always had a good feeling about the Scullin shops.”

Sue is really excited to see new landlords who will take an interest in the community.

“Normally, a landlord would take on a shop … and they’re not so concerned with who rents it. But community members really care who rents it.

“You want something where you can go and connect, and you can go and meet people, and that sparks a bit of joy about where you live,” she says.

Colourful cake with Scullin written in icing

Braddon cafe Sweet Bones will open a new cafe at the Scullin Shops. Photo: Scullin Sweet Bones Instagram.

The cafe will open in early 2022 next door to Change Yoga Studio and the soon-to-be-opened African grocery Neemah Store. Having three bustling businesses will be a stark contrast to a few years ago when most of these shopfronts were closed and shuttered, and the other front-facing businesses only opened at night.

For now, the SCG is hard at work organising A Very Scullin Christmas, an event that will see community stalls, a kids market, local musicians and a Christmas movie screening at the shops.

The event will also raise funds for ongoing projects around Scullin. They’re hoping to have regular markets and events throughout the year and turn their attention to green spaces across the suburb.

Two people play guitar in front of mural

Local musicians like The Cashews will be playing at A Very Scullin Christmas. Photo: Supplied.

If your local shops could do with some revitalisation, there’s plenty of inspiration to be had from the success in Scullin.

“Be constructive, be creative, and just go for it! You don’t have to have everything worked out before you start,” advises Sue.

Emily added: “I think putting it out there and getting people involved with different skills, and not being afraid to ask for help. We ask for help all the time!”

Join the community for their Christmas celebrations and see the transformation for yourself.

Bright mural of bird with woman walking

David Cragg’s mural is a new feature of the revitalised Scullin Shops. Photo: My Scullin.

Find out more and get involved with the Scullin Community Group through their website.

A Very Scullin Christmas will run from 3 pm to 8 pm, Saturday, 18 December. There’s also an online Christmas Raffle.


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
9 Responses to Cafes, community, and Christmas: meet the Scullin locals revitalising their once-neglected shops
Karuna Honer Karuna Honer 5:37 am 21 Dec 21

How inspiring ❤️

Maree Hourigan Maree Hourigan 10:52 pm 20 Dec 21

Great to see. It was my local shopping centre for 10 yrs, but back then in continual decline.

Sue Snashall Sue Snashall 6:53 pm 20 Dec 21

Lived in Scullin for three years then moved to Flynn. Still went to the Scullin shops. It’s great to see what’s happening there. Will take a look when we are next in Canberra for a visit

Margaret McLachlan Margaret McLachlan 3:00 pm 20 Dec 21

💖 hope the Christmas gathering went well.

To add to the street libraries you could try a seed library like we have here in Sheffield, Tas.

Btw I lived in Scullin for 30 years.

Sara Toscan Sara Toscan 9:08 pm 18 Dec 21

Kym we jumped the gun! sweet bones is yet to open 😁

Ian Barges Ian Barges 7:28 pm 18 Dec 21

A long way since the days of MR 20 Paul MacĐonald

Stewart Ross Stewart Ross 9:00 pm 17 Dec 21

Job well done!

Tony Luckhurst Tony Luckhurst 7:44 pm 17 Dec 21

Still waiting for shops at Giralang

Finagen_Freeman Finagen_Freeman 3:43 pm 17 Dec 21

Loved in Scullin for six years, and the last two were when the SCG had just started. Fantastic change. Somewhere worth visiting now.
Can’t wait for the cafe to open.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

 Top
Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site