We Are Yarra

Wren, Abbotsford

“I think more restaurants need vegan options, it just makes sense. That way shops would get more business and more people would be able to participate in Melbourne’s foodie culture. I mean, Melbourne’s already pretty good when it comes to vegan options, better than Brisbane definitely. At least, if you walk into a restaurant [in Melbourne] they can make stuff vegan for you on request, and they understand what you mean when you say ‘vegan’. And the food being made vegan doesn’t compromise on its quality. In Brisbane, there’s not as much creativity when it comes to vegan food – it’s all just salads. People are quick to assume that vegan food is just generally bland, but it’s nice to see that that assumption is being challenged here. People are giving veganism a go, and that’s really refreshing to see.”

Faces of Yarra

Sarah, Collingwood

“I’m here to learn English because I need it back home in Colombia, and it’s cheaper to learn a language in a new country than to study it in a school. When I can speak and write well in English, I can study back home. But it’s hard to speak to people around here. When I’m working, people don’t speak to me a lot. They just take their food, say thank you, and that’s all. And I’m working a lot because we need the money. There’s very little time to go out to speak to people.”

Photography by Ruwanthi Wijetunga

Faces of Yarra

Jacob Hapeta, Fitzroy

“I’ve been playing on this spot for thirty years now, started in 1987 with a bunch of mates. We were in a group called The Fist – because there were five of us. I still see two of them, sometimes. One guy lives out in Warnambool. Last time I saw him was two years ago, back when I still had a car. Can’t bother with a car nowadays, not in this city. We got trams and buses and I don’t have to travel too far to get anywhere. I used to play all over the city, but now I’m mostly around here. People know me here. I’m out here every weekend, sometimes during the week too. I have a bit of free time now, which is good. Gotta take the dog out for walks!”

Photography by Ruwanthi Wijetunga

Faces of Yarra

Jules, Collingwood

“I’m just meeting a friend of mine for lunch, we haven’t seen each other in a while. We used to make music together; he’s a writer and singer and I play, mostly bass and electric guitar. We’ve had gigs all over the place, you know, Melbourne’s a pretty artistic city. It’s not like Brisbane or Sydney where everything’s a lot more straight. Like artists in Sydney do it for the love, but in Melbourne – because the creative industry is more stable – you can easily do it for the money. I have so many friends in Melbourne who make art professionally or write and have other jobs. Sometimes you have to think there’s an advantage in having a less stable artistic industry because there’s more to rebel against, because nobody’s ‘gonna’ look down on you here for saying, ‘Oh, I wrote a song!’. They might in Sydney. Those artists have that shared sense of purpose in their work. And that purpose can be really powerful.”

Photograph by Ruwanthi Wijetunga

Faces of Yarra

Juliane, Carlton

“I came to Australia from Germany for something different. I finished studying and I didn’t want to work straight away, and I thought, for something different I would come here. It’s a nice area [Carlton], and I’ve been here for one and a half years now. I feel different about going back home all the time, one day I want to stay and the next time I want to go home, because of the homesickness, you know. But the area is nice, we work around the corner, and so during our break there’s not enough time to go home. We laze around in the park while we wait for our next shift.”

Photo: Vanessa Orzlowski

Youthful perspectives: Capture Yarra Photography Competition

It’s remarkable just how much our perspective changes each year. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but it is forever changing, moving and growing.

The Yarra community we know and love is full of diversity; in race & religion, education, and age. How we see Yarra is unique to each and every one of us.

In conjunction with Yarra Youth Services, the Yarra Libraries held a ‘Capture Yarra Photo Competition’ for youth residing in the Yarra and library members.

Participants aged between 12 and 18 were encouraged to capture Yarra as they saw it.

Emma White, the youth services librarian at Yarra Libraries, told YR that the aim was to ‘provide an insight into the world of our young Yarra residents. Participants were given the brief to capture what they thought was the true essence of Yarra. This collection of images is a poignant and honest exploration of their experiences.’

The winners, chosen by a panel of judges, were Ella Cox, age 13, with her photograph titled ‘The Bus Stop Lounge Room’, Lillian Gutteridge, age 15, with her photograph ‘Evening Light’, and Poppy Ward, age 12, with her photograph ‘Tram Gateway’.

Ella Cox The Bus Stop Lounge Room
Photographer Ella Cox, The Bus Stop Lounge Room

 

Lillian Gutteridge Evening Light
Photographer Lillian Gutteridge ‘Evening Light’
Photographer Poppy Ward, ‘Tram Gateway’

‘I feel very excited [to be nominated]!’ Poppy ward told YR via email.

Twelve-year-old Poppy’s interest in the photography competition sparked after she participated in a photography workshop held in the Carlton Library, but she has always had a keen interest in the craft.

Understanding the perspective of youth while facilitating avenues of creative expression is just one aspect of community engagement we see here in the Yarra.

Most importantly it gives youth a chance to tell their stories, their way, and promote the confidence, independence and creativity of the future of Australia.