12 January 2010

Do your own neighbourly ACT

| Rigmarole
Join the conversation

We don’t always get along with our neighbours, and as we move towards more high-density living, we need to keep each other on side rather than off side. Noise is sometimes a problem; so is simply getting to know each other, especially when high-density living also often attracts quite a high ratio of renters to owner/occupiers and therefore a more transient population. In Canberra, where many of us are at work all day (lucky us – and I mean that when we think of our neighbours here and overseas) it takes effort to even manage a ‘Hello’ at the end of the day because we barely see each other.

High-density living isn’t the only culprit in our neighbourly suburban wastelands. Big blocks in leafy older suburbs can be just as bad. When my relationship broke down my neighbours on both sides of me in a street I had lived in and brought my children up in for 20 years, had no idea that my partner wasn’t with us any more until at least 3 months afterwards!

Founded by Andrew Heslop in 2003, Neighbour Day began in Melbourne after an elderly woman was found dead in her unit, several years after it happened, and none of her neighbours realised she was no longer around. Neighbour Day is held on the last Sunday in March. Go to the official website for tips on putting on your own event and getting to know your neighbours.

I’m organising Neighbour Day in my neck of the woods, and as we have people from several different cultures, I’m asking everyone to bring along a plate from their country of origin for us to share.

By setting a time limit (5 – 8pm), hosting it in one of our communal areas, encouraging BYOG, kids but no pets, a $2 donation for soft drinks, baking a very large celebratory slab cake and borrowing an urn for tea and coffee, I’m hoping we will get a good group together for a quasi-soiree rather than a backyard brawl.

Go on – give it a go!

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments


You don’t happen to live in a street called Ramsay street do you? And Harold’s last name isn’t Bishop by any chance is it?

You’ve just ignored half the people in the street by saying ‘no pets’. Pets are considered family to some people and deserve to be included in any street ‘do’…if they are friendly and socialised of course.

Having said that…I live in the most friendly cul de sac and have never experienced anything like it before. I am friends…and I mean friends as in we socialise together…with no less than 8 households. We are, by no means, in each others pockets and are often satisfied with just a smile and a wave as we pass each other by. But also enjoy a good old chin wag along with a bbq and beverage on a regular basis. We look after each others pets when we are away…really helpful knowing your neighbours pets as then you know which gate to put them back behind if they happen to do the harry houdini hehe…

Old Harold down the end even fixed a slipped roof tile for me while I was at work. He noticed it as he was walking back from his daily trip to the shops…God love him

“When my relationship broke down my neighbours on both sides of me in a street I had lived in and brought my children up in for 20 years, had no idea that my partner wasn’t with us any more until at least 3 months afterwards!”

I’d call that minding your own business. You can be very neighbourly without being nosey

I went and greeted our new neighbours just before Xmas. They were surprised and said that they had never even met the neighbours at the place they lived before. I know all the neighbours around me, its good for community cohesion and basic security. Retired neighbors are the best anti-burglar device known.

ACTing like a Mama1:38 pm 13 Jan 10

Yep – we have regular “street parties” probably about three or four a year where the whole street is invited (we are a small cul-de-sac though). We also help each other with watering the garden/collecting mail/putting rubbish bins out when someone is away. There are 11 kids between the 8 houses (i unoccupied) in the street so every sunny weekend you see a group of them (if not all) running around playing cricket etc.

Our street has such a sense of community around it, without it being too in-your-face. It is something we never really considered when we brought the house five years ago, but it is certainly one of the main reasons we have not left, nor really want to, despite our house being too small for us now.

Neighbour day sounds like a great tradition though!

They’re called ‘street parties’ here. This year will be the first without any fireworks.

This is a lovely idea.

For the first time this year, we had neighbor drinks for Xmas – just popped a note in everyone’s letter box and told people to be at a certain location in a nearby park at defined times – BYO everything. All of the street turned up (except people who were away) and it was really a lot of fun. We all agreed we must make this a more regular occurance. Maybe we are unusual, but our street is actually pretty friendly – we collect eachother’s mail/feed pets etc… when people are away etc… I feels good knowing that you have people in the street watching out for your property etc…

I hope everyone takes up Rigmarole’s suggestion and makes their neighborhoods feel a bit more neighborly.

Call me cynical, but can’t people think of anything other than having a “day” for every cause? There must be at least 150 “ribbon days” and another 215 other designated cause days.

Getting to know your neighbours can be helpful though.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.