Innovative garden concept brings the generations together

The Bunbury Noongar community and the South West Catchments Council (SWCC) gathered during National Reconciliation Week to celebrate the official launch of the Goomburrup Intergenerational Six Seasons Learning Ground.

The purpose-designed garden located at Little Street, Carey Park was co-funded by a SWCC Cultural Connections Grant through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the WA Primary Health Alliance.

The learning ground concept evolved step-by-step, in close consultation with the local Noongar community. Overwhelmingly, they wanted the focus to be on young people learning about culture from their Elders in a natural environment, with the opportunity for practical activities and knowledge exchange.

The Goomburrup Intergenerational Six Seasons Learning Ground is a landscaped garden with six sculpted beds, shaped by curving limestone paths. Each bed has been planted with plants that will flower or fruit during one of the Noongar six seasons. Additionally, every plant has cultural purpose and importance for Noongar people as food, medicine or in customary practices.

The staff at Goomburrup Aboriginal Corporation were the driving force behind this vision becoming a reality.

“We have wanted to do something like this for a long time. To create a place where the community can come,” said Benang Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator Ernie Hill. “But we just weren’t sure where to start.”

“With the support of this funding, our dream has become a reality.”

Administration Manager Sue Jones said the project had been strongly embraced by the local community.

“I think the project has been so successful because we involved the community right from the start,” she said.

“We asked for input in to the design, the bush tucker plants used, and the whole vision for the garden.”

Goomburrup Aboriginal Corporation Chair, Joyce Dimer, officially opened the learning ground and spoke at the launch about the incredible community spirit behind the initiative.

As well as a place to share cultural knowledge across the generations, the garden has incorporated a memorial garden for members of the community who have lost family and friends to suicide.

Community members and invited guests observed a minute of silence to commemorate those who have passed, and each family planted a tree to form a quandong (Santalum acuminatum) grove in remembrance of their loved ones.

Family and friends can tend these beautiful trees as they grow and share in the fruit, providing an opportunity for healing and remembrance.

To find out more or to have a look at this incredible community effort, drop in to Goomburrup at 16 Little Street, Carey Park and say hello. Or check out their Facebook page for all the latest.

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