Picnic Among Friends 2013

The fourth annual event of Living With Our Dead, a Picnic among Friends is on Sunday 10th November from 2 – 5 pm at Girrhaween Park in Earlwood.

Pack a picnic and bring your family and friends, your living and your dead with you, for a day of celebration and ceremony.

There will be opportunities to exchange what has been passed on to you and to contribute to a collective memory tree. It’s a day for kids and adults alike.

For the Memory Tree you are invited to bring small photo, flower, an object or to pens some words and stories of those you would like to spend the day remembering.

The Passing it on Tree is the place to record what our ancestors, family and friends pass on to us. It may be a handy or household hint, a recipe, a maxim for life, a saying or everyday wisdom. Collect those sayings that underscore your lives and share them with others.

We will continue the celebration of our grandmothers,all the times we spent with them, their pearls of wisdom and what it is that they passed onto us. There will be an opportunity to celebrate all things Granny Nanna, Yah Yah, Oma,, Ama, Nonna, Babushka, Bubbe…… may your knitting and pickling continue as we add to the Grandma Shrine for the 2nd year.…..

This year we will create a Memorial for those who have lost their lives seeking Asylum on their way to this countries and others and to the communities that mourn them or live with the uncertainty of their fate.We will have a special weave artwork that will be created by those picnickers who wish to contribute to it during the day.
this quote from earlier in the year,transcribed from a radio interview, forms the inspiration for the memorial artwork we will make;

‘I sometimes wish that perhaps some of the debate and some of the commentary and some of the discourse, that each of us would perhaps look at asylum seekers not as a bulk, anonymous grouping of individuals but as individual human beings that, you know, have hopes and aspirations and dreams and feel the same pain and suffer the same grief as each of us.
And I think it’s when you know that bodies are – you know, we have a one year old baby in our mortuary, the child of an asylum seeker family.
And I wish we named – that’s one of the things I’ve sought to pursue is that even then we don’t name the deceased or we don’t name them publicly. We have – and I wish we did. I wish we humanised them. I wish we gave them that respect in death, that we were prepared to name those that die. And I think it would be nice if we did that.’
Jon Stanhope, the administrator of Christmas Island on Radio National’s AM July 17, 2013

Register your interest in the picnic



Sunday 10th November 2013, from 2-5 pm.
We are holding a 2.30 for 3pm ceremony to honor all those we are coming to remember.
Whatever the volume, be it light sprinkles or total storm, we will be there.
Looking forward to seeing you all.
Dress well!


Girrahween Park, Corner of Sutton and View Sts, Earlwood and Hartill Law Ave, Bardwell Park. Girrahween Park is part of the Wolli Creek Valley and is protected by The National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Wolli Creek Preservation Society. More info on the Wolli Valley.

View Larger Map

How to get there

423 bus from City, Central to Earlwood. Alight at corner of Homer and View Streets.
 Bardwell Park Station, the park is across Hartill Law Ave, to the left once you leave the station.
 Bardwell Park is on the Airport & East Hills Line.
 More public transport information here.


There is plenty of parking in the streets surrounding the View and Sutton St entrance and in Earlwood Village shopping centre car park directly above the Hartil Law St. entrance.


Wheelchair access from the corner of Hartill Law Ave
Parking on street.
National Park Terms of Use
No naked flame.

What to bring

Your picnic provisions, sun block, hat, rug and some afternoon tea to share.
Memory tree – Please bring a small organic object to contribute to the creation of a memory tree- an image you are happy to part with, a piece of text or poem, a drawing, or something you make from natural materials. There will be materials provided to create your offering on the day. IMG_7827
Passing it on – You are also invited to bring something that has been passed on to you – a recipe, a handy or household hint, a way of doing something, a maxim for life or a saying?
 We’d love you to pass them on too. You will be able to read and exchange these life tips on the day. IMG_7849
Our Grandmothers Shrine – Again, bring an object or make one on the day to contribute.
Doilies, teacups, gardening gloves, knitting kneedles, ribbons, elastic bands, recipes, sayings- all the things you remember of the times you spent.IMG_7791

How might you bring your ancestors, family members or friends?

  • By bringing tangible elements or objects that you associate with them.
  • By making something inspired by them,
  • By creating a space for them in your picnic,
  • By bringing a story or anecdote
 By wearing something from them


Who and how many?

You can bring as many of your dead as you wish – people, animals, plants, flora and fauna. You can bring people you know and love intimately.
 You can bring your ancestors,
 you can bring dead people that you have never met, who may not be familial or blood relations, but who shape or have shaped your lives.
 And, alongside people, many of us hold significant relationships with animals, flora and fauna.

Wet Weather Alternative

If it is raining, we will make a decision by 10 am on the day – at the latest – if we are proceeding. Our dead will not mind the rain, and while it may dampen our picnic ideas, a ceremony will take place in all weather conditions, as there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing! So be adventurous if the weather turns on the rain. We will post the decision here.

About Girrhaween Park

Girrahween Park is part of the Wolli Creek Valley and is protected by The National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Wolli Creek Preservation Society.


See images by Mayu Kanamori of the inaugural picnic.

This years picnic is supported by Canterbury Council through its Community Grants Program auspiced by Inner West Cultural Services and produced by Living with Our Dead Incorporated.

IWCS colour hi res jpgfb-group

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