“Is honesty the best policy?”

Post by Zoë-Amber Preston.

Abandoned honesty shop caravan

Having grown up in the Dandenong Ranges, I often find myself surrounded by kind-hearted, honest people. As you drive along our rolling hills you may notice that there are those who share their home-grown goods with love and trust by using the ‘honesty box’ system. An honesty box allows you to take part in a community tradition of sharing. It is also a unique opportunity to try out local food; free of chemicals and filled with love.

A few weekends ago, my Dad and I explored the lovely streets of the hills looking for honesty boxes. We had some trouble at first, because a few of the boxes that had been recommended to us had been abandoned. I wondered what had caused them to close. Was this the result of thievery or troubles looking after the store, or perhaps the change in seasons or environment had prompted their closing.

After stopping for lunch in Emerald we hit the road again with great determination. We were pleasantly surprised to find plenty of honesty boxes that people have spent so much time looking after. To me, honesty boxes really reflect the feeling of spring. I love the sunny weather, bright colours, and fantastic feeling when you buy a bunch of flowers or a delicious treat that was made by the local community.

Sweet eez oranges

Hancock’s Daffodils

I chose to photograph honesty boxes because they are something that people don’t often take notice of.  Seeing one on the side of the road always makes me curious to see what is being sold. I thought it would be a good opportunity to discover more of the hills and appreciate how some people put so much of their time into them. Dad and I had a fantastic day exploring the hills and finding out more about our charming community!


Zoë-Amber Preston is a creative young artist and writer living in the hills. She has had an article published in Hillscene magazine and spends a lot of her time drawing and taking photos in her lovely forest home.

To see some of her art visit her Facebook page: Zoe Amber Photography and Drawing

Glengower farm