Local Wiradjuri culture and history are blooming in Parkes with the opening of the Garradyang Cultural Garden at Bushman’s Hill last Friday.
The opening of the bush tucker garden, which will provide hands-on learning about Wiradjuri culture for students, formed part of NAIDOC week events in the Parkes Shire.
Garradyang, the name of the garden nominated by the working group and endorsed by students from five local Parkes schools affiliated with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, reflects the original Wiradjuri name for the Parkes region.
Geoff Anderson from the Parkes Wiradjuri Language Group explained the word Garradyang. He said it came from the Currajong trees that feature prominently around Parkes. The trees can be used to make almost anything, from baskets to medicine.
Geoff took the opportunity to suggest that Bushman’s Hill could be renamed to include Garradyang as a joint name.
The names of the garden ties in well with the NAIDOC theme this year of ‘Always Was, Always Will Be,’ celebrating Australia’s ancient history and traditions and cultures which endure to this day.
Apart from the edible, medicinal and fibre plants in the garden, there are also heritage items on display including an ancient grinding stone and scar tree. The beautiful garden is further enhanced with totemic art by Glenn Sloane, while a natural arbour was planted that will provide shade once it has matured.
“The Wiradjuri Garden aims to increase community awareness of local Wiradjuri culture and history,” said Parkes Shire Deputy Mayor, Barbara Newton at the opening attended by representatives from the Wiradjuri working group and members of Parkes Shire schools.
“A Masterplan has been developed for the Bushman’s Hill precinct by Parkes Shire Council, and the cultural garden is included to celebrate the vision of the precinct.” The precinct already includes a Wiradjuri amphitheatre.
The garden was designed by local landscape designer Elizabeth Briton, and showcases plants commonly used by the Wiradjuri people in their day to day life for food, medicine, tool making and other purposes. The design and choice of plants was overseen by a working group compromising local Wiradjuri residents and council staff passionate about raising awareness for Wiradjuri history and culture. School students have been invited to take part in the ongoing planting and maintenance of the garden.
This project was a value-add component of The Recycled Water Scheme project that was part-funded by the Australian Government through the National Stronger Regions Fund.
By Maggi Barnard