Friday, 9 July, 2021 - 14:30

Residents and visitors to Mansfield have a new cultural outdoor experience to enjoy, after the Ngobi-an Gadhaba Indigenous Garden was formally opened in the Mansfield Botanic Park last Tuesday as part of NAIDOC week.

Mansfield Shire Mayor, Mark Holcombe said the 2600 square metre Gadhaba Garden is a fabulous collaboration with the Gadhaba Local Aboriginal Network (GLAN).

“The GLAN first approached Council in 2016 about establishing an edible and medicinal indigenous garden at the Botanic Park. It recognises the Taungurung people, the original inhabitants and Traditional Owners of the land where Mansfield is located,” Cr Holcombe said.

Aunty Ann-Marie Fletcher, chair of the GLAN said the completion of the project in time for NAIDOC week helps build understanding about the Traditional Owners in this area and how they lived in the region.

“With the name, Ngobi-an Gadhaba meaning 'learn together’, how apt it is to open the garden during NAIDOC week with this year's theme being Heal Country?” Ms Fletcher said.

“Ngobi-an Gadhaba has the capacity to foster reconciliation by bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people together whilst preserving culture.  It may also be used as a teaching resource for students and the broader community thus sharing traditional knowledge via a very modern technology, the QR code.  We are grateful to Taungurung Land and Waters Council for hosting our information on their website and invite community members to take a self-guided tour, remembering that the garden will vary somewhat on a seasonal basis,” she said.

The garden includes 18 plant species and five interpretive signs complete with QR codes that link to the online portal, providing a self-guided tour.

“The experience showcases the significance of local plants used for food, medicinal, tools and fibre purposes by Taungurung people,” she said.

“The garden has great potential for ongoing use by local and surrounding schools, where Aboriginal culture forms part of the school curriculum or units of study and it has the potential to become a unique drawcard for Aboriginal tourism in Mansfield. Consumer demand for such tourism experiences is significant and continues to grow, especially from the international market.”

Aunty Bernadette Franklin performed the welcome to country and smoking ceremony as part of the opening.

Development of the garden was supported by a grant for $62,000 from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Korin Korin Balit-Djak fund.

Council was also involved in the flag raising at the Visitor Information Centre to mark NAIDOC week, where Aunty Bernadette delivered a Welcome to Country ceremony last Tuesday.

On Thursday, Uncle Chris Thorne, artist, spoke at the launch of the interpretive booklet for the Gadhaba Word Mural held at the Mansfield High Country Library.

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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July, 2021 - 14:37