Van gets new lease of life at the vineyard
PLACE Activation is changing how we see and use ordinary spaces.
Traditionally confined to urban renewal, the concept of Rural Place Activation is being explored by two Childers winemakers through the concept of the Little Blue Book Van.
Perched atop the rolling hills right beside the grape vines sits what was once a dilapidated, 25-year-old blue Hiace van.
Co-owner of Vintner’s Secret Vineyard, Marianne Lethbridge, said she found it rusting away behind a shed on a farm in Apple Tree Creek – it was being used as a dog house – and knew straight away that it was just what she wanted.
Together with her partner, Ed Murray, the van was towed to the vineyard to be given a whole new life.
“I had attended a presentation on Place Activation given by Bundaberg Regional Council’s town planner, Alicia Otto, some months ago and became very motivated by the concept of Place Activation,” Ms Lethbridge said.
“It appealed to my love of renewal and using creative, cheap ways to make old things new and useful again.
“Several projects had been completed in Bundaberg in public urban spaces but I dearly wanted to bring the concept to rural locations and demonstrate that it was an approach that could work just as well with private individuals or businesses that were open to the public.”
The Little Blue Book Van has been converted to a quirky miniature library, reading nook and book exchange.
“It celebrates the pure love of reading, promotes literacy in the area, especially to the younger visitors and, most importantly, demonstrates the concept of Rural Place Activation,” she said.
The van is to encourage others to create something different to business or property and it will be a contribution to the tourist appeal of Childers.
“Visitors love the artistic touches and the joy of sitting under a mango tree with wonderful rural scenery all around and books to read right beside them.
“All that is needed to feel perfectly happy is a glass of wine,” she said.
The project has provided an opportunity for artist Mark Terry to showcase his creative work and was fully funded by private business.
c Vintner’s Secret Vineyard’s Marianne Lethbridge
It appealed to my love of renewal and using creative, cheap ways to make old things new and useful again.
RURAL PLACE: The van is a place for the community to enjoy at Vintner’s Secret Vineyard.