Karen Gibson saw Pride of Place as an opportunity to make better use of an old concrete slab on her property.

“POP requires $1000 from your own money, so I paid that over a period of time, and it was very flexible. They didn’t expect the lump sum all at once. I paid $25 a week.

When I was close to $1000, we designed my garden and it started from there. When I got the call I felt very excited”.

With the help of family and friends, Karen and the POP team built her pergola with lattice edging and a barbecue.

She was very proud to see her two sons contributing ‘sweat equity’ on the project, one who is a keen apprentice carpenter.

“We all pitched in and helped. The last little things we’ll do on our own — cleaning up and that sort of stuff. The leftover pavers that we have here, we intend to build a dog pound for our dogs.”

“All the older trees were planted by my mum and stepfather, who have passed on now. They would have been proud today to see what’s happening here. We just wanted to keep this going.”

And there is plenty of opportunity to do more!

Karen and her family are very eager to carry out more improvements on their own.

“It’s coming together slowly. I still have six fruit trees to put in the ground and I have fourteen hanging ti-tree plants, and they will be located along the driveway. Once the driveway is completely straight and all done, we’ll put them in the ground. We want to do more now that this has started.”

Karen’s pergola is now an area where she can gather with family and friends. “And just near the pergola we’re digging a fire pit for those nights you just want to sit around the fire.”

And Karen and the family were creative in getting the most out existing materials. “We’ll sit out over there and use the old shower to stack the firewood.” “It’s given us that confidence and that pride in our own place, doing something for ourselves, and that’s a good feeling. I’d like to see this project not only in Hopevale, Mossman Gorge, Aurukun or Coen,

I’d like to see it in other communities as well as Cooktown where there are a lot of Indigenous people who could benefit from these types of projects.”

“I have been bragging about POP ever since it started. All the family were happy to help out. I’m encouraged to plan future projects.”