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Aboriginal Cultural Garden at Canterbury Hospital

Garden provides connection for Aboriginal people while in hospital.

A group of people pose for a photo behind a plaque in a garden.
SydneyConnect Image: Canterbury Hospital's Aboriginal Cultural Garden

Canterbury Hospital's Aboriginal Cultural Garden, which celebrates the rich indigenous history of the local area and will be a space for staff, patients and their families to share, has been officially launched.

The garden acknowledges the Bediagal people of the Eora Nation, who are the traditional owners of the land on which Canterbury Hospital was built.

It depicts the local Aboriginal history of the Bediagal people who lived along the banks of the Cooks River and surrounding areas.

The ochre and blue designs on the floor of the garden represent the river and land, with native plants to be dotted throughout the space.

"It's important to learn the history of the land we live and work on every day. If we know the history, we can improve the future by striving to never make the same mistakes of the past," Dr Teresa Anderson, the District's Chief Executive, said.

"Our vision is for Sydney Local Health District to have the healthiest Aboriginal community in Australia. Having places such as this garden are another way to help our Aboriginal patients feel safe to access our services," Dr Anderson said.

Dr Anderson was joined by the hospital's Acting General Manager Michael Morris, Brendan Kerin from the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council and Aboriginal elder Uncle Cliff Daylight for a special smoking ceremony to launch the garden.

"It's very important to Aboriginal people and provides a sense of connection and understanding of what Aboriginal people feel when they come to hospital," Mr Daylight said.

The ceremony took place during National Reconciliation Week, which is a time for all Australians to celebrate Aboriginal history and culture and explore how to contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

The hospital's Aboriginal Cultural Planning Committee, the District's Aboriginal Health Service and the Capital Infrastructure and Engineering team worked together to create the garden.

It's one of many initiatives the District has undertaken to make spaces within its hospitals and health facilities culturally safe for Aboriginal people.

The District's Aboriginal artwork is displayed prominently at the entrance to Canterbury Hospital's Emergency Department, and Aboriginal patient lounges are being built at Canterbury and Concord hospitals.

The District is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people who live in the District by working in close partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern to close the gap.