After months of juggling schedules, planning, organising plaques and tweaking of the garden, the day of the Patient Wellness Garden opening ceremony finally dawned.
The morning was attended by MNCLHD senior management, Bellingen Council, the Lions Club, members of the Gumbaynggirr community, BHAG Volunteer Gardeners, the Pink Ladies Auxiliary, the Foster Family, hospital staff and numerous other community organisations and individuals who had all played a part in bringing the PWG project to its successful conclusion.
Guests watching the opening ceremonies
It was a morning of many ceremonies and many plaques,
commencing with a Welcome to Country in Gumbaynggirr by Dylan Kelly.
Welcome to Country
Michael Jarrett performed a Smoking Ceremony
to ward off bad spirits and to cleanse the garden.
Michael Jarrett performs the Smoking Ceremony
The Gumbaynggirr and other women who made the arduous journey on foot from Bowraville to birth their babies at the Bellingen Hospital, were remembered on a plaque, as were the attending doctors – Doctors Hewitt and Elliott.
The birdbath memorial plaque in Gumbaynggirr and English
Unveiling the plaque
Michael translating the plaque
The story of their journey is illustrated on the sides of a beautiful mosaic birdbath
created by Fiona McAulay and her students at Bellingen High School.
Dedication of the birdbath
A plaque commemorating the opening and the community’s involvement in the construction of the garden was unveiled and dedicated to patients, their families, visitors and staff.
The Patient Wellness Garden memorial plaque
The Carl Foster Memorial Gazebo was officially opened by Mayor Mark Troy, accompanied by members of the late Carl Foster’s family – June, Irene, Sharon and Christopher, and the Bellingen Lions Club who designed and constructed the gazebo.
The Foster Family, Lions and Mayor Mark Troy
Then there was the planting of the Wollemi Pine, and the unveiling of the
Doctor Hewitt Memorial plaque by Warren Grimshaw and Stewart Dowrick.
(And we mean planting, no token gestures here, shovels and buckets were required!)
Memorial to Doctor Hewitt
Barb Moore, Stewart Dowrick & Warren Grimshaw
Memorial Wollemi Pine
Guests admired the Evocation Sculpture Garden created by students
at Bellingen Public School
The Evocation Sculpture Garden
Of course, what would an Opening Ceremony be without a fabulous morning tea!
(Catering by the Black Bear Café in Bellingen)
A most successful end to a strenuous but rewarding project,
and a relief to finally cross it off our “to do list”.