New Healing Therapy Garden at PDH

Dennis Rose with Chris Giles - Turning first sod
Tyler Lovett-Murray - Initiating smoking ceremony
Thursday, 6 July 2017
People using Portland District Health will soon have a new area for reflection.

A NAIDOC Week ceremony yesterday (5 July) marked the start of PDH’s new healing therapy garden, a space where anybody can socialise, connect and reflect.

The project has received funding from the Department of Health through its drug and alcohol and mental health program.

CEO Chris Giles said the new area would incorporate indoor and outdoor spaces and aimed to make people feel at home”.

PDH is in the process of designing the space which will extend an area near the cafeteria and also include a new outdoor garden.

We want to extend the indoor area to flow into the outdoor area so all people who use our services will feel comfortable to go there,” Ms Giles said.

It is planned to incorporate part of the Gunditjmara story into the space, along with an aluminium gannet donated by Alcoa. There are also plans for a fire pit and water feature.

PDH is working with nurseries and Aboriginal corporations to select appropriate plants for the precinct.

A memorial rose garden in the area has been relocated to the front of the hospital.

It will be something for everybody, a healing therapy garden with inclusiveness as its theme, Ms Giles said.

The project was launched yesterday with a smoking ceremony and turning of the first sod.

Portland District Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce officer Sonia Shelton was pleased with the number of people who attended the ceremony.

This is a real partnership project and recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people contribute to our community in a variety of ways including music, art, culture, community, education, environment, sport and politics, she said.

The theme of this year's NAIDOC Week celebration is to highlight the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

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