QEII Hospital celebrated the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples during the 2018 NAIDOC Week with a special ceremony to officially open the hospital’s Indigenous cultural garden Gallang Dhagun, which means Healing Ground or Garden in English.
QEII Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Hospital Liaison Officer Rahm Rallah said the garden was a source of education and acted as a tribute to the traditional owners of the land.
“An Indigenous cultural garden is an area containing grasses, bushes, shrubs and plants that are Indigenous to the local area and hold particular significance to the local Indigenous population as Bush Tucker and Bush Medicine,” he said.
“It’s wonderful that we’re able to offer a culturally enriching environment to our staff, patients and visitors.”
Mr Rallah said the garden would also help ease patients’ stress or anxiety.
“We have re-imagined this space, incorporating gardens and nature with specific healing intentions,” he said.
“Gallang Dhagun is a special place that patients can find a spiritual healing and share a space that is non-clinical.”
The opening of Gallang Dhagun followed many years of consultation with the Jagara Elders, Yuggera Elders, Ugarapul Elders, Inala Elders and the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
The grand-daughter of Uncle Eddie Ruska, Shanice Martin, delivered the Welcome to Country and opened the ground on behalf of the Yuggera Elders.
“The purpose of the Gallang Dhagun is to pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the land that it resides on as Jagara, Yuggera and Ugarapul People. The garden is there for everyone to enjoy,” Mr Rallah said.
“Importantly, it will also help improve the biodiversity around the hospital as Indigenous plants attract Indigenous insects which in turn encourage Indigenous birds and mammals to the area.”
The Wirra Wakka Dancers also helped the QEII community celebrate on the day, performing a series of dazzling dances.
Gallang Dhagun acts as a visual welcoming to all and graces the Main Entrance of QEII Hospital.