Around The Yard


Opposite Alice Yard. Photo by: Kriston Chen

Opposite Alice Yard is an empty house with two large trees — a mango and chennet tree. Occasionally there are green parrots that will fly over to the chennet tree and drop the seeds in the driveway of Alice Yard. They thump loudly as they hit the ground, or twice if it hits the galvanise roof first and then rolls off. A homeless man sometimes jumps the gate to get into the back yard of the empty house. He does it quickly, but everyone sees. 

The gate in Alice Yard is wide open and gives full view. Nobody lives in Alice Yard, but for the last 12 years, a lot of things have happened there. Some world-famous artists have visited, and a few important writers who are now available in the local book store, have read there. Normal folks as well, looking to use the bathroom; and friends liming. In front of the yard, there is small business. They pay rent, along with the musicians in the band room in the back. The yard is important to contemporary culture.

The two houses are two completely different stories — two sides of Roberts Street, Woodbrook. 

The yard is also near the corner of Murray Street. Known for its prostitutes and getting your car stolen — both are untrue. I've spent quite a bit of time now entering and leaving Alice Yard at odd hours, due to our #1000mokos activities, and while there is a host of characters that walk up and down Murray street, the prostitution exists further down on upper Fitt Street and Cornelio, and has never really been a bother for the group. I have heard of a few cases of people getting their cell phones and jewellery stolen on Roberts Street, at bars and nearby restaurants — but with regards to stolen cars, they're mostly towed away. I can only imagine how much Murray Street has changed over the years.

Diagonal from Alice Yard is a park called the Woodbrook Playground. During the rainy season it's green and in the dry season, it turns brown, like our mountain ranges. Over the years I have grown to appreciate this park a lot. Mainly because of its diversity. It's common to find students here. I've seen kids working on their dance choreography or march pass routines, and also some practicing javelin and football. Families host get togethers and teenage couples chat on the swings. Nearby is Ariapita Avenue which is annoying because styrofoam food containers and beer bottles always end up as litter in the park. They tend to be the messiest, and there are no bins. There are also chickens that occupy the space. In the morning you can see hens with their chicks marching across the park. They enter the park through an opening in the fence of the neighbouring fire station. There is also a homeless population that inhabits here. They often take shelter in the gazebo and appreciate a clean park, as much as we do. The neighbours hardly visit the park, but will often pop their head out and wave to the little moko jumbies in training, from their homes, in their balconies, and through their gates.

Driveway of Alice Yard .    Photo by: Arnaldo James

Driveway of Alice Yard. Photo by: Arnaldo James