New Creative Spaces hubs open along Elizabeth St

Yarn Strong Sista Creative Spaces Melbourne

The City of Melbourne’s Creative Spaces program has brought four new creative hubs to life along Elizabeth St, working to fill vacant shopfronts throughout the CBD while also lending support to independent artists and organisations.

The four shopfronts have opened to the public throughout January and house a diverse array of businesses dedicated to social justice causes and community advocacy, with a focus on creative arts, products and services.

“Melbourne is home to a vibrant arts community, which is why it’s wonderful to see this group of creatives breathing new life into our CBD,” acting Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said.

“Melbourne has the lowest retail vacancy rate in the nation and that’s for a good reason – we’re continuing to attract exciting new businesses and confidence is on the rise.”

The new businesses include Laneway Learning, ProudKind, Hair Gallery and Yarn Strong Sista.

Owned and operated by Taungurung woman, Annette Sax, and her husband, Bob Williams, Yarn Strong Sista is an Aboriginal education consultancy that also includes Yarn Strong Brutha and fashion label Wa-ring.

“It all started almost 23 years ago from a story told by the late Aunty Iris Lovett-Gardiner, who was a Gunditjmara teacher and activisit,” Ms Sax told CBD News.



“It was her story of the Possum Hunt Puppet Show which I shared as a student, then later in life at Yarn Strong Sista, which teaches children and adults about Victorian Aboriginal culture.”

Also, an Aboriginal artist and illustrator, Ms Sax designs and manufactures Aboriginal educational resources in addition to their First Nations teaching services, working with fair trade partners in Nepal for the past 11 years to deliver these resources to early childhood education partners.


I really love the idea that I can share my cultural practices through the creative arts, connecting with Aboriginal children and families – it’s all about empowering our community.


Ms Sax hopes to utilise the space to connect with locals through their calendar of events, including a story time event for children on April 4 hosted by Julie Dascoli, author of That Boy.

Held during Autism Acceptance Week, Ms Dascoli will also host a networking function on the evening of April 4 for early childhood educators and teachers, where she will share her experience as an inclusion support staff member.

Yarn Strong Sista is also working with the narrm ngarrgu Library and Family Services at Queen Victoria Market to host a storytelling session for local families in the CBD to learn about Aboriginal culture and history.

“We want to make those authentic relationships and connect with people that have lived here for a very, very long time,” Ms Sax said.

“It’s also been fantastic to connect with the other artists and their businesses around us - we’ve actually been having conversations about Harmony Week and we’re all going to be part of an event that’s happening at the Drill Hall.”

Operating since 2008, the Creative Spaces program has supported “more than 150 artists and creative organisations” through the program, “providing valuable space for Melbourne locals to thrive”.

“A massive Ngun godjin (thanks) to Creative Spaces for this opportunity.” •

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