19 November 2021

'Gnomvember' family folklore sees garden gnomes frolicking in Kambah adventures

| Damien Larkins
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Gnomvember gnomes

Gnomvember gnomes with the sheep at Kambah Village. Photo: Gnomvember.

Seen any gnomes around southern Canberra lately? Gnomvember started as a child’s letter to a garden gnome and sparked a decade of magical family fun.

It all started in November 2011 when a five-year-old Kambah boy heard from a friend that gnomes came alive at night.

He took out some paper and wrote a letter to the single gnome that lived in his family’s garden … and the gnome responded.

“Gnomvember was born,” his mother Shilo* explains. “Since then, every Gnomvember, the gnomes have come alive at night and left some evidence of their activity to be discovered in the morning.”

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Soon the gnome was joined by other friends and now, 10 years on, 10 gnomes are sharing their magic.

But this year, the tradition has lost some of its shine for the now-teenage members of the household, so the gnomes have made their own home in a local community garden.

“Kambah is a big suburb, but it has a great sense of community. The gnomes thought it would be a nice idea to see a bit more of what’s on offer, and we thought it might bring a bit of joy and magic to people’s lives.”

Gnomvember involves a lot of creativity and a little help from the family to plan and execute the nighttime adventures.

Locals awake to find scenes of the gnomes around the suburb, collecting veggies to preserve, playing golf, hiding painted rocks and even preparing for Christmas.

(One gnome was even discovered writing under a gnome-de-plume.)

The tiny, creative dioramas have appeared next to the sheep at Kambah Village, at the local Ah Mouy Place Little Street Library and even taking a holiday at Batemans Bay this year.

“One of the gnomes is a cartographer,” according to Shilo. “She has mapped the local area and highlighted a few points of interest.”

What started as some annual family fun has amassed quite a fan base, with the gnomes even starting their own Gnomvember Facebook page.

“I was surprised how many people have started following,” Shilo says.

“Most people have just discovered them on a daily walk and go each day to see what they are doing.”

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So if you’re out and about in Kambah, who knows where you might stumble across them.

“The gnomes’ map includes the Golden Gate bridge and the adventure playground so I expect they will be at one of those places very soon.”

If you miss Gnomvember this year, they plan to be back again in 2022.

(*Last name withheld on request.)

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