Posted by Chris WHELAN on Sep 19, 2021

On 5th January 2016 the Club received this message:

Hi Kenn,
My name is Erin Madeley and I am the Market Manager for Perth Makers Market. Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to me today.
Perth Makers Market is a new handmade market which will be hosting it’s launch market on the 7th of February 2016 and then running bi-monthly for the remainder of the year.  Perth Makers Market is a new market South of the Swan River that makes it's home at Heathcote Cultural Precinct in Applecross. The goal of Perth Makers Market is to provide a platform for the talented, high quality handmade crafters that call Perth their home in a family focussed, friendly location.
With strong ties to the community and a focus on giving back, Perth Makers Market is unique.  One of the focuses regarding community ties is to provide fundraising opportunities to local groups and organisations such as yours. We were hoping that your organisation might be interested in running our parking for these events.”
And so was born our relationship with the PMM.
PMM has gone from strength to strength.  Now 6 x a year at Heathcoate, over 200 stalls, multiple food vendors, buskers, and a brilliant ambiance. Up to 5000 people visit each event. Erin’s business footprint has grown (now dented by Covid) and she has other events outside Applecross. Erin is a respected and recognised entrepreneur, and a good friend of Applecross Rotary.

That first event in February 2016 was relatively small. Our initial focus was on protecting the concrete footpath up to the market. We used masses of red mesh barrier loaned to us by the City of Melville.  It took a while for the goat track up the hill to become the preferred approach to the markets.

Focus turned to controlling vehicles onto/off the lower car park. Several experiments before the present system fell into place. Early requirements included removing and later replacing several wooden bollards in the small entry car park zone, and shovels to fill in potholes with sand and branches.

After over 5 years activity we have a proven set up. It takes about 14 “man-hours” to set up on the Saturday afternoon.  A recurring problem is too few persons on the job.  Two or three more volunteers turn a 4-hour slog into a 2.5-hour breeze.

At the end of the event on the Sunday, an extra 2 volunteers on site for 60 minutes gets the job done and dusted. Else, again, it is a slog.

Some cars got bogged in the sand: that led to Gordon splicing the tow rope; now used only occasionally. With input from Hamish, we broadcast fertilizer across the field to help the weeds grow. Hamish provided the fertilizer and sits on the back of his ute casting it with an eagle eye. We are still experimenting with tangled bunting. A key element to success is that cars park in straight lines. Chris Dawson has led the technology charge on this issue and the progress over time in obvious.

By November 2016 it was obvious that our Club alone could not handle the task on the day: the Rotary E-Club of WA stepped forward. We now work together almost seamlessly; the relationship is great and the connection between our two Clubs is strong.

In the intervening 5 years the Waylen Bay Venturer Team have been a consistent support and we have also had substantial support at various times from the Cockburn Cougars, Aquinas College, Applecross SHS Science Group, Mama Respond and the Melville City Rotaract Club.
E-donations beat cash donations. Ray has helped us capture this transition. It is key to the size of our future public donation outcomes.

The upper car park zone in Heathcoate Precinct remains the frantic spot of the day. We need to handle stallholder vehicles, reserved parking for the Blue Water Grill patrons, ACROD vehicles, others who just need to drop off deserving attendees, people who planned family parties in the zone, and keen-eyed drivers who can ‘just see a spot’.

On the day, between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm this is the real pressure zone.

Now most Applecross Rotary members share the task. At each event about 50% of active members contribute 3 to 4 hours on the day. For most that means 3 opportunities a year to enjoy "fellowship through service".
Some interesting learnings include:

i. The paint job on the vehicle does not predict the generosity of the donation.
ii. How to control traffic on the Strand when the queue banks up to the Raffles.
iii. Some people cannot drive their car successfully thru a gate way.
iv. A driver’s licence does not mean you can reverse your car.
v. Some persons can have expensive cars, poor attitude, and awful driving skills.
Erin has gifted Applecross Rotary the main entrance stall at the event. From there we can pitch Rotary, sell water, and ask for donations in the spinner. Like any sales point: it can be busy, and it can be slow.  Outcomes indicate an evolving story. In the early years we achieved 4 times the financial return that we get today. We have a selling point opportunity; should we try to optimize or we should downsize our efforts on the day?
PMM allows our Club, and support volunteers, to provide a societal service and to solicit public donations. Since Feb 2016 the public have donated $82,000 to our Club and we have shared $20,000 with other supporting volunteers. The Club has used the balance for local community projects.

Future developments include the development of the lower car park zone by the City of Melville. The existing public car park will be expanded 300%, a walkway to the Heathcoate precinct will replace the ‘goat track’, and the grassed area will be reticulated and generally improved. Completion maybe by 2023?

The ongoing tasks are coordinated by Chris Whelan. After 6 years on the job, he will stand down in June 2022.  Chris is happy to train his replacement before then. Please contact him if you have an interest in a very worthwhile Club activity.