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Historic Aboriginal artefacts returned to site of Prince of Wales Hospital

The new Prince of Wales Hospital Acute Services Building is now home to a significant piece of Aboriginal history. 

A collection of 8,000-year-old hearth stones, symbols of welcoming, healing and shared knowledge, are on display in the public forecourt, honouring the land’s cultural heritage. 

One of two sets of hearth stones discovered during excavations in the 1990s and more recently in 2019, the stones represent one of the most important excavations in NSW Health history.  

The Randwick Campus Redevelopment worked closely with the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and Gujaga Foundation to return the artefacts which stand as testament to the thousands of generations of Aboriginal people who lived in the area, specifically the Bidiagal people of the Dharawal Nation. 

To preserve the hearth stones, they were dehydrated for nearly a year in a deep freeze and they are now protected under a reinforced glass dome, ensuring their longevity. 

The display is designed as a space for engagement and reflection, and tells the story of the stones’ traditional use, as well as featuring local Aboriginal language. 

La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Chris Ingrey said he was proud to have been involved in curation of the hearth stones display, after his father was part of the original excavations.   

“I think the display is a beautiful homage to our people and our occupation of the site. Everyone who visits will now be able to really appreciate the Aboriginal history of the area, which is extremely special for us as a community,” Mr Ingrey said. 

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