Mark Gale has lived in the same St Albans street his entire life. His home of 34 years has a shop-front facing John Street that his grandmother, Adele Kovacevic, used for her dressmaking business between 1971 and 1996.
But while his family has set up shop in the street and stayed there, most other residents are short-term renters – and many have come and gone on their way to more permanent housing elsewhere.
“Because it’s an affordable area, it’s often a stepping stone for young immigrant families,” Mr Gale says of St Albans in general.
To reacquaint himself with his neighbours Mr Gale will host a Neighbours Day event on Sunday, March 26.
He’s one of 20 locals to receive $250 from Brimbank council to organise events that get people out of their houses and on to the streets, to meet up with their neighbours.
Mr Gale’s plan is to have a street working bee followed by a barbecue dinner. It will be the third time he’s hosted a Neighbour Day event, and he’s expecting the biggest turnout yet.
“It’s been great; it makes the street more connected and helps break barriers down,” he says. “It gels people, getting them to wave to each, rather than racing inside.”
Neighbour Day was founded by Melbourne activist Andrew Heslop in 2003 after the body of an elderly woman was found inside her suburban home two years after she’d died.
Mark’s event will begin outside 22 John Street, St Albans on Sunday, March 26, 2-6pm.