Thursday 8 September 2022
A ceremonial land cleansing was held today on the site of the new $260 million Eurobodalla Regional Hospital, as part of an ancient Aboriginal tradition used to regenerate Country and prepare the land as a safe and welcoming place.
Led by Aboriginal Elders and knowledge holders on Yuin Country, the event included a traditional smoking ceremony and cultural burn, the first to be carried out on a NSW hospital project site.
Today’s cultural burn recognises and respects ancient traditional Aboriginal practices and acknowledges the continuing connection to land, culture and community.
Yuin Elder Uncle Bunja Smith said cultural burning is an ancient fire practice that has been used by Aboriginal people for over 60,000 years.
“For millennia Aboriginal people managed the land through cultural burning - it was one of our farming and land management practices to care for Country and will help to restore the land to create a healthy foundation from which the new hospital can grow,” Uncle Bunja said.
“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.”
The local Aboriginal community has been central to shaping the new hospital.
The new hospital’s design is being guided by local Aboriginal knowledge to build connections with Country including the use of Dhurga language to support wayfinding around the hospital campus and the inclusion of a Meeting Place.
The Eurobodalla cultural burn was performed ahead of work starting on site later this year, and was led by local Aboriginal cultural burn practitioner Andrew White, from the Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council who has been conducting cultural burns in the Eurobodalla and surrounding region for more than 10 years.
Eurobodalla Regional Hospital will provide more health services than are currently available at both the Moruya and Batemans Bay hospitals combined, as well as an overall boost to bed capacity.
Early works are expected to start in late 2022, with main works construction scheduled to start in 2023. The hospital is expected to open to patients in 2025.
For more information about the new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital please visit the project website: www.eurobodallahs.health.nsw.gov.au.
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