The Clarence Valley Aboriginal Healing Centre will celebrate former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations on Monday February 15.
The event will take place in The Healing Garden at Gurehlgam Corporation building from 10.30am to 12.30pm.
The garden was established and has been maintained by a group of mostly Aboriginal volunteers, who have an interest in bush medicine and bush tucker, coordinated through a local job network provider.
The celebrations will include the unveiling of plaques dedicated to the Stolen Generations, returned and fallen soldiers and past loved ones.
The healing centre’s coordinator, Janelle Brown, said the garden was a place that “brings people together”.
“There are a lot of people socially disconnected, both Aboriginal and non-aboriginal,” she said. “It’s connecting them and providing social inclusion.
“I think it’s something good that can help connect the whole community.
“By celebrating the anniversary, we are in some ways reminding people of the past and what happened in the past; so that kind of thing doesn’t happen again.
“We’re celebrating something – the apology – that should have happened a long, long time ago, we’re recognising the hurt of the Stolen Generations.
“It’s only when we recognise what happened in the past – the bad things that happened – that we can truly heal; on both sides: the Aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities.”
Ms Brown said the garden was a small way of “getting back to nature; it’s grounding, and connecting back to Aboriginal culture and to plants that are medicinal.
“The garden is going to consist of bush tucker and medicine plants, as well as the vege patch,” she said.
On the day, light refreshments in the form of finger food will be provided, with bush tucker included.
The garden will have three main garden beds, each dedicated to one of the three Aboriginal nations of the Clarence Valley: Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl.”
The Gurehlgam Corporation’s healing centre, which is located at 18-26 Victoria Street, serves the five Aboriginal communities of the Clarence Valley: Grafton, Maclean, Yamba, Baryulgil and Malabugilmah.
The Healing Garden is one of only five around the country to receive stage two funding to develop the concept – Clarence Valley Council contributed $2,000, following a Stage 1 allocation in 2014.