Norm Hudlin on Kragga Kamma Road was created to offer mountain bikers a variety of easy routes in a safe environment. Quickly it also became a popular spot for a jog or a walk and lately it is the hub for families enjoying the painted rocks phenomena. Norm Hudlin is now also home to Gnomesville PE, which was a long time dream of local resident Graham Chrich, or plainoldgraham as his Geocaching friend know him. Graham got to visit a gnomesville village in Western Australia in the Furgeson Valley where there now nearly 10 000 gnomes and just knew that he wanted to starts something similar in Port Elizabeth for the delight of both locals and visitors. .
The community of silent dwarves in Australia actually began as a whimsical protest some 20 years ago. As the Gnomesville website explains, a small bit of land in Ferguson Valley was annexed by the local government to create a roundabout. Despite an outcry from the nearby residents, the roundabout was installed, and tensions simmered. Then at some point, a gnome appeared. At first there as just one in a tree hollow, but after a few months, there were around 20. The collection continued to grow as visitors and locals alike came and dropped off their own little statues. In the decades since their first appearance the army of gnomes had exploded into the thousands. For a time, theft and vandalism stunted the growth of the little population, but today the site is fairly well respected and continues to grow as people bring their own gnomes to add to the community and estimates are that there are around 10 000 of them now.
Graham got permission from the owners of Norm Hudlin to set aside a small section for Gnomeville PE and with the help of some of his Geocaching friends he started to set up his dream. Gnomesville PE was launched on 21 February 2021 and the first gnomes have taken occupation of the land. Unlike painted rocks the gnomes may not be taken away, but everybody is invited to add gnomes to the community. Get yourself a painted gnome or paint it yourself, ad your own special touch to it and even place your name on him or her somewhere. And most importantly, come and visit them often.
It was awesome to see Graham when we popped in the weekend after the launch and he was really very excited about what it could look like someday.