Category Archives: Reconciliation

Snapshots From the Caring for Country Reconciliation Event

Snapshots from the recent Caring for Country Community Planting Event held as part of the Place of Reconciliation project at Banks Reserve / Warndoolier. You can find this special part of the world on Joel Terrace in East Perth.

The event was hosted by the City of Vincent, with support from the Vincent Reconciliation Group and participation by the Claise Brook Catchment Group.

It was a very chilly morning, but luckily a very heart warming event!

Elders Doolann-Leisha and Walter Eatts preparing to deliver the Welcome to Country, accompanied by Samuel Pilot-Kickett on the didgeridoo

Elders Doolann-Leisha and Walter Eatts preparing to deliver the Welcome to Country, accompanied by Samuel Pilot-Kickett on the didgeridoo

Community members planting out the banks of Walter's Brook

Community members planting out the banks of Walter’s Brook

Community members helping with the final stages of planting

Community members helping with the final stages of planting

Even our youngest community members got involved!

Even our youngest community members got involved!

Enjoying the day

Enjoying the day



Reconciliation Week: Caring for Country Community Planting Event

place of reconciliation

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while might remember that back in May 2012 the people and City of Vincent and Nyungah Elders officially recognised Banks Reserve, a beautiful local riverside park that rests on land known to Whadjuk-Nyungah people as Warndoolier, as a ‘Place of Reconciliation’.

The event was part of a partnership project between the Vincent Reconciliation Group and the City of Vincent. You can read more about the history of the reconciliation project here and here.

Reconciliation Week is rolling around again and this year the City of Vincent is hosting a Community Planting Day to celebrate the completion of one significant element of the ongoing Place of Reconciliation project – the restoration of Walter’s Brook.

Community members are invited to join in planting 800 plants around Walter’s Brook over two planting sessions, followed by a relaxing BBQ.

See here for full event details and to register to attend.

I’ll be there getting my hands dirty! Would love to see you there too.

Reconciliation: the time is now

RWA photo

Last Tuesday evening, in the glorious surrounds of Mooro Katta or Kaarta Gar-up (two of the many Noongar names for Mount Eliza, the highest point of Kings Park) a special event took place.

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Western Australians, representing a wide range of sectors, came together to celebrate the exciting reconciliation achievements and initiatives that are happening in WA at the moment.

One of these initiatives – the launch of Reconciliation WA through generous support from Lotterywest for 3 years – was particularly exciting for me, as a member of the advisory group that provided input to the application for funding.

Here’s some background on Reconciliation WA provided by  WACOSS:

“The Reconciliation space has increased substantially in Western Australia over the past 5 years. WA has approximately 90 organisations with Reconciliation Action Plans amid a list of 400 RAP Organisations nationally, endorsed by Reconciliation Australia. Reconciliation WA began as an idea over two years ago and recently established as a dedicated state based organisation funded for three years by Lotterywest and housed at the West Australian Council of Social Services (WACOSS).

Reconciliation WA will function as a Secretariat and make a significant contribution to closing the gap in relation to Aboriginal health, education and employment outcomes in WA. The Secretariat will work together with the WA Community and Organisations to promote and encourage reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. Over the three years, its key elements are the development of trust, understanding,respect and opportunities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and the active involvement of government, business and community organisations in reconciliation activities.

We strive to create a West Australian community that has a broad understanding and acknowledgement of a whole range of issues, not just about Aboriginal culture but also around history post colonisation. Our vision is for a state where the special place,culture, rights and contribution of Aboriginal peoples are valued and respected.”

Other initiatives celebrated at the event were the first anniversary and successes of the Yokai Employment Forum and the RECOGNISE campaign and its journey to the South of WA.

Congratulations and a huge thank you to the people who have been driving and championing these important initiatives!

Images L-R:
1. Phillip Walley-Stack and dancers giving a wonderful Welcome to Country and performance.
2. Co-Chairs of the Board of Reconciliation WA – Mary Cowley and Alan Carter – speaking about its launch.
3. Fred Chaney delivering an inspiring speech, with dynamic MC for the evening Gningala Yarran-Mark (from SKM) and RWA Executive Officer James Back looking on. 
4. Kimberley Benjamin, RECOGNISE Youth Ambassador, showing us that the future is in good hands.

The next step in a local Reconciliation journey

On Sunday 27 May 2012, Banks Reserve in East Perth (on land known as ‘Warndoolier’) will be formally recognised by the people and City of Vincent as a Place of Reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

Banks Reserve

Banks Reserve on land known as ‘Warndoolier’

Hosted by the Vincent Reconciliation Group and the City of Vincent, the event is the next step in a local Reconciliation journey that is demonstrating how place making can further Reconciliation aims. It builds on earlier Reconciliation discussions and activities that have happened at the park in recent years and that I’ve had the pleasure of helping to facilitate.

Everyone is invited to join in this historic event, held as part of National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June 2012).

  • The event takes place at 11.00am on Sunday 27 May.
  • The formal ceremony will feature a Reconciliation choir, an Elder’s Welcome from Nyungah Elder Mrs Doolann-Leisha Eatts, and the unveiling of a plaque by Mrs Eatts and the Vincent Mayor Alannah MacTiernan.
  • This will be followed by activities for the whole family, including Nyungah cultural activities and a ‘treasure hunt’ throughout the park.
  • There will be a walking tour to highlight community aspirations for enriching Banks Reserve as a Place of Reconciliation.

See the attached flyer for full event details.

The community vision for the Place of Reconciliation that was developed in collaboration with local residents, organisations, and Aboriginal community representatives is included below. There will be plenty of opportunities coming up to join in implementing the vision – stay tuned!

Our vision is to further develop Banks Reserve as a Place of Reconciliation for the City of Vincent community. This will be achieved through creating a range of low impact, yet highly engaging features – community artwork, natural landscaping, images and signs – that will promote awareness, reflection, respect, relationship and reconciliation between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people. These features, linked together through a simple ‘trail’, will collectively mark Banks Reserve as a ‘Place of Reconciliation’.We envisage this being done in a way that enhances, in simple ways over a period of time, what is already there, rather than creating something dramatically new. We also envisage it being done in a way that draws together community members in actively working on art, story telling, education and environmental rehabilitation and participating in community events and celebrations. Importantly, in every aspect of the slow enhancement of this Place, our vision is to build connection and relationship. Connection and relationship with the land, and connection and relationship between people – Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal alike.

Early results of Reconciliation Place project

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know I’ve been enjoying my work with the Vincent Reconciliation Group and the Town of Vincent on a community development and place making project to enhance Banks Reserve* as a place of reconciliation.

I’m excited to let you know that an early result of the community consultations we held in 2010 is that this year’s summer concert and film night at Banks Reserve has an Indigenous theme. The program includes the screening of a new short film about the wonderful Wadjuk/Noongar elder Doolann-Leisha Eatts who I quoted in my last blog post. I’m sure this will be a moving and fascinating film.

The concert and films are free and everyone is welcome to attend. The event falls on February 13th which is the anniversary of the national apology to the Stolen Generations, making it a fitting time to come together to celebrate the strength of local Aboriginal culture.

Here are all the details:

"banks reserve"

*Banks Reserve is a major park/recreation area on the river in Mt Lawley, just north of the East Perth Power Station.

All juiced up: good things for communities in 2010

By nature, I’m a reflective person. So I enjoy the end of year/new year period for the opportunity it offers to sit back and take stock of the year that’s been. I’ve been doing just that over the past few weeks and wanted to share some of my community development and place making highlights for 2010 (I got all excited and inspired pulling this list together!).

These are some of the good things that kept me juiced up last year:

1. Developing the new Community Gardens WA website as a virtual hub for the WA community garden sector was a highlight. The site gives people easy access to information, connections and avenues of support for their community gardening initiatives. This should be your first port of call if you want to know about community gardens in WA!

community gardens WA, website

The virtual home for community gardens in WA

2. After two years of working intensively in the community gardening sector through managing the Growing Communities WA project, I felt grateful to have the chance in 2010 to put some of my learnings about community gardens down on paper in the form of two new resources – Community Gardening Success Factors and Funding Your Community Garden – to help WA gardens grow. These are free to download at Community Gardens WA.

3. Working with the Vincent Reconciliation Group and the Town of Vincent on the Banks Reserve Reconciliation Place project and seeing the positive impact for people of being involved in visioning processes was truly special. The project aims to make a local contribution to fostering reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians by building relationships across cultures around a shared connection with a special place in the Town – Banks Reserve on the banks of the Biliya (also know as Derbarl Yerrigan or you might know it as the Swan River!).

It was particularly touching to receive the following feedback from Noongar elder Doolann-Leisha Eatts who has been closely involved in the development of the project: “I never thought I would see this day come: when people would be gathering together to heal the wounds of our past and present. I really feel hope now – I really feel that my grandchildren and great grandchildren have a future. I really feel that we are being heard and we can walk together”. Wow. This is the reason I do the work I do!

Banks Reserve, Reconciliation Place

Community members talking about how Banks Reserve can be a place of reconcilation

4. In the course of working on a cultural plan for the City of Melville I had the privilege of chatting with a wide range of passionate and skilled community members who are contributing to creating a lively and inclusive arts and cultural scene in the area. I was blown away by the contribution all of these people are making to their local community, on a voluntary basis. And the people I met would just be the tip of the iceberg. Isn’t it awesome what people do to help build strong and vibrant communities?

Heathcote playground

Did I mention I also discovered possibly the best playground in Perth? You'll find it at Heathcote in Applecross.

5. Having a hand in helping Perth City Farm obtain funding to realise their 8-year dream of opening a training cafe on site was a real highlight. The café is generating numerous benefits for City Farm. If you haven’t already, make sure you cycle down there soon to check it out. The food and ambience is ace.

Perth City Farm, cafe

Soaking up the sun at City Farm's garden cafe

6. I enjoyed some travels within WA and interstate during 2010 and relished the opportunities to discover, explore and connect into local places and pick up some new ideas to add to my place maker toolkit. If you like travel diaries, you can dip into mine here and here.

7. Bringing a little piece of the East St Jetty to Eighth Avenue for the launch of creative maylands during the Maylands Festival was a lot of fun and reinforced for me how effective it is to take standard community engagement tools and give them a ‘flavour’ of the place where I am using them. We chatted to lots of people throughout the day about what they think is special about Maylands and recorded their ideas on colourful fish that gradually filled our ‘river’ to the brim.

creative maylands, East St jetty

We had lots of fun designing this East St jetty-themed interactive display and people seemed to love it

8. Building on my work with Growing Communities WA, in 2010 I began offering a new range of development support services for community gardens called How Does Your Garden Grow. This paved the way for me to support an exciting initiative to develop a new community garden in Armadale, under the auspices of a local Indigenous Corporation, that has the potential to bring significant benefits to the local community. Yay!

So, what about you? What community development or place making initiatives got you fired up 2010? I’d love to hear about your highlights for the year and how you plan to build on them in 2011. Let’s have your comments…

Place making for reconciliation

Are you interested in Reconciliation? Do you live or work in the Town of Vincent?

If you answered yes, then you’re invited to be part of the Reconciliation Place project at Banks Reserve in East Perth, next to the Derbaal Yerrigan (Swan River). The project aims to further develop Banks Reserve as a place of reconciliation for the Town of Vincent community, through bringing people of all backgrounds together to create community artwork that will promote reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and enhance the existing features and community uses of Banks Reserve.

The project kicked off with a very special Reconciliation Ceremony held during National Reconciliation Week in May.

The next step is a community workshop to develop a vision of how reconciliation can be celebrated in the park. Full details of the upcoming workshop are here.

Banks Reserve Reconciliation Ceremony 29 May