Maleny makes a space to hang your Boomerang Bag

Meighan preparing for Boomerang Bags

Meighan preparing for Boomerang Bags

by Dale Jacobsen

With the phasing out of plastic bags just around the corner, two young women have decided to create a space in Maleny full of  fun and creativity, that manages to be environmentally conscious too. Hang Space will be a hub for fashion, food, live music and hanging out – and a perfect place to create Boomerang Bags!

Meighan Shaw and Samara Jane know what makes young folk of Maleny tick. These two young women grew up on the Range. They met in grade 5 at the Ananda Marga River School and have been friends ever since.

“We live in a beautiful place,” said Meighan. “I am very fortunate to be part of such a dynamic community, and to have wonderful eco-conscious parents.” Meighan is the daughter of Karen and Spencer Shaw, well-known ecologists and activists who run Brush Turkey Enterprises.

About a year ago, appreciating her daughter’s passion for living a sustainable lifestyle, Karen drew Meighan’s attention to Boomerang Bags. This grassroots community is committed to tackling plastic pollution at its source by replacing single-use plastic bags with re-usable bags made from recycled materials.

The concept kicked off in 2013 when Tania Potts and Jordyn de Boer shared a dream of reducing plastic bags in their community of Burleigh Heads. It is fast spreading Australia-wide, and in the Hinterland – active in Glasshouse and Beerwah, as well as Maleny.

“I have been involved in environmental projects all my life,” said Meighan. “It’s just the way we live, and the way a lot of people live in Maleny. So, I wanted to do something that would tie together all the things we believe in.

“Samara Jane and I got talking, and we came up with the idea of Hang Space, a place where people could gather, share their abilities and ideas, and hopefully change the habits of everyday lives.”

While the concept is still in the early stages of development, Meighan and Samara Jane have already staged two very successful Hang Space events at the Little Red Cottage at 20 Coral Street Maleny, and hope this will become a monthly happening, possibly the last Sunday of the month, but check their facebook page for forthcoming dates.

“The whole idea of Hang Space is to set up a discussion of how to lessen our impact on the environment through things like recycling clothes. You don’t have to buy new mass-produced clothes to look smart. We definitely follow the Slow Fashion Movement principles.”

There is no doubting that this attractive, smart young woman sitting across her sewing table from me lives her words, as does Samara Jane, a model.

As part of Hang Space, Meighan and Samara Jane hold Boomerang Bag-making workshops on a fortnightly basis. They worked with the Boomerang Bag graphic designer to come up with a logo for the Maleny-made bags, and have had a screen made for use on each unique bag. Local businesses have shown support, handing out information leaflets and flyers.

“Our aim is to sell these bags for as little as possible, just enough to cover costs such as screen-print ink, thread, electricity, rental,” explained Meighan.

Hangspace - Boomerang Bags Maleny logoAll bags will be made by volunteers from donated or recycled materials. I, for one, will be going through my sewing cupboard, weeding out those bits of material left over from sewing projects.

Meighan asked that people message her (through the facebook page) so she can arrange a time to leave them at the cottage.

“The Boomerang Bag workshops will be a great chance for people to make friends, up-cycle materials and work towards shifting society’s throw-away mentality,” said Meighan.

Meighan and Samara Jane aim to make Hang Space the go-to place in Maleny. It will be full of fashion, food, live music and generally a space to simply hang out.

For a small fee, again to cover costs, people can have their own stall from which to sell their pre-loved clothes, handcrafted wares, artwork, shared lunch … the sky’s the limit.

The Little Red Cottage, previously an artists’ hub, continues to support local artists in a relaxed and low-cost environment. Tunja Cottier, from Music on Maple, has opened her own space in the cottage, selling second-hand vinyl records, and keenly takes part in Hang Space gatherings.

“We have seen that a socially involved space is missing for the young folk of Maleny, and we hope we are creating the right atmosphere to fill this gap,” said Meighan. “We are enhancing our community, one thread at a time.”

It is comforting to know such attitudes are alive and thriving within the younger folk of Maleny.

For more information, or to donate materials for Boomerang Bags, contact Meighan:

Come to the introduction/information night for the Boomerang Bags Maleny group at – 20 Coral Street Maleny from 4pm December 11.