A cultural ceremony and land cleansing was held on the site of the new Wentworth Health Service Redevelopment, as part of an Aboriginal tradition used to regenerate Country and prepare the land as a safe and welcoming place.
Held with Aboriginal Elders and knowledge holders on Barkandji Country and attended by health service staff, visitor and community members, the event included a traditional smoking ceremony, as well as dance performances.
Barkandji Elder, Aunty Clair Bates said cultural burning is an ancient fire practice which has been used by Aboriginal people for over 60,000 years.
“Cleansing the land is an integral part of our connection with Country to restore and rejuvenate the land spiritually, and today’s ceremony signifies that this hospital will be a healthy and safe place where the whole community can come to be healed,” Aunty Clair Bates said.
“We have worked closely with the project team on the design of this important new health facility to make it a place welcoming to all.
“The Aboriginal Advisory Group has helped inform the design of the new hospital and we are delighted to see that the main entry plays homage to the red river gums (scar trees) located along the rivers and the landscaping design includes a sensory garden for palliative care with an adjacent yarning circle. The planting around the new hospital and in the gardens will also include medicinal and bush tucker plants.”
The existing Wentworth hospital site will be transformed as part of the Wentworth Health Service redevelopment
to enhance health services and facilities for the region, which includes a 19-bed inpatient unit, ambulatory care and urgent care centre.
The appointment of the main works contractor is expected in the coming months with works to commence soon after.