The Yarning Garden, Featuring Gunaikurnai Clan Shields, To Be Officially Opened During NAIDOC Week

Gunaikurnai/Monaro men Adrian Morgan and Alfie Hudson at the new Yarning Garden at Bairnsdale Regional Health Service. Photos: Jake Lynch/BRHS

 

One of the key events at Bairnsdale Regional Health Service’s NAIDOC Week celebration this year will be the opening of a “Yarning Garden” at the main Day St. hospital campus.

The Yarning Garden is a quiet and relaxing public space outside the Oncology and Dialysis building, that has been designed based on local Aboriginal concepts of healing, yarning, water and other natural features.

The garden was designed by Footprint Contractors, a Gippsland-based landscaping and cultural education business run by Alfie Hudson, after extensive consultation with the community.

The end result is a remarkable garden that is both visually stimulating and deeply peaceful.

“It really is a beautiful space, and the fact that it reflects the culture of the Gunaikurnai people is very powerful, and important.”

“Collaboration was a big part of the project right from the start,” said Adrian Morgan, a well-known local artist and BRHS’ Koori Hospital Liaison Officer. “It was terrific to have so many different local groups and people contribute to it.”

Those groups include local semi-trailer manufacturing business Kennedy Trailers, which manufactured five magnificent shields representing the five clans of the Gunaikurnai – Bratwoloong, Brayakooloong, Brabawooloong, Tatungooloong and Krowathunkooloong.

The shields were carved out of steel by laser, and stand about six feet tall. They’ll be placed around the Yarning Garden in locations that mirror the geographic positioning of the five clans across this vast region, from the Bratwoloong people in the south to the Krowathunkooloong people in the north.

The community is invited to celebrate the opening of the garden and the unveiling of the five Gunaikurnai clan shields as part of BRHS’ NAIDOC Week celebrations on Tuesday, July 9.

Events will begin at 2 p.m. with a Welcome to Country near the flagpole at the front of the hospital.

Another feature of the Yarning Garden is the elegant wrought iron furniture. These remarkable pieces, featuring the goanna, pelican, crab, and other totem animals, were designed and built by Koori men taking part in the Yoowinna Wurnalung Healing Service.

Funding for the Yarning Garden was provided by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Victorian Cancer Services Aboriginal Cultural Safety Program.

“We hope the Yarning Garden brings comfort to our patients and their families, but it would be great if it also becomes a place for the community,” said Linda Daniel, BRHS’ Director of Community Wellbeing and Partnerships. “It really is a beautiful space, and the fact that it reflects the culture of the Gunaikurnai people is very powerful, and important.”

Gunaikurnai people are the traditional owners of Gippsland.

The community is invited to celebrate the opening of the garden as part of BRHS’ NAIDOC Week celebrations on Tuesday, July 9.

Events will begin at 2 p.m. with a Welcome to Country near the flagpole at the front of the hospital. There will be tours of the garden, which will include an explanation of the meaning behind the design and featured works.

For more information visit www.brhs.com.au/community