Shani Graham

Take a street and build a community

TEDxPerth 2013
October 2013

Talk length:


Take a street and build a community: Shani Graham at TEDxPerth

How well do you know your neighbours? Suburban life is often isolating and rarely a true community experience. This is not the case in Hulbert Street.

Shani Graham helped lead a sustainable-living revolution that ultimately resulted in strong neighbourly relationships, the fences pulled down and the establishment of a street festival. In this talk, she explains how it happened.

Shani Graham
Sustainability Guru

Born in Jamaica but raised in Canada by Australian parents, Shani Graham experienced self-sufficiency from an early age. Her first passion was education and she spent most of her teaching career working with students with disabilities, before moving into educational management roles in schools. Her final principal posting was at Fremantle Primary School. In 2006 Shani and her partner Tim realised the world could not continue on its current path so they opened The Painted Fish - short-term accommodation with a sustainability focus. Interest in the business exploded and Shani and Tim found themselves running regular Living Smart courses, gardening days and tours. In 2008 Shani was instrumental in the creation of the Hulbert Street Sustainable Fiesta, an event to encourage community, sustainability and resilience in Perth suburbs. The Painted Fish has since closed and Shani now focuses her time on a new business venture with Tim called Ecoburbia. The couple have recently moved to a bigger property which they are transforming into multiple homes with shared facilities, complete with a veggie garden, chickens, goats and a bee hive.