Warrnambool Community Garden celebrates culture, food and community

Aboriginal elders Daphne and Rob Lowe Snr at the smoking ceremony and indigenous acknowledgement seat declaration.

Aboriginal elders Daphne and Rob Lowe Snr at the smoking ceremony and indigenous acknowledgement seat declaration.

A real focus on sharing was emphasised at the Warrnambool Community Garden open day on Saturday. 

The day’s celebration launched the bush food garden, a recently published bush food booklet and the newly erected indigenous acknowledgement seat.

Native bush foods, spear and boomerang-throwing workshops and live music were just some of the highlights of the day with hundreds enjoying the atmosphere. 

A traditional smoking ceremony concluded a public declaration of the seat that garden convener Julie Eagles said was inspired by the true, sad and heart-wrenching stories of local indigenous people. 

“It is a great honour for us to have this seat,” she said. “To sit and reflect in the beautiful garden.”

Ms Eagles said the ceremony and the day had been “wonderful”.

“We’ve had loads of people through enjoying food and music and just the general, beautiful place that this is,” she said. 

As patrons walked through the smoke, they were led to a traditional dance and stories, told by elder Rob Lowe Snr.  

Traditional performer and speaker Jamie Thomas said everyone was “indigenous to the planet”. 

“We need to all get together to look after mother earth,” he said. “Not just for this generation but for the next and 10 generations to come.”

Traditional performer and speaker Jamie Thomas at the Warrnambool Community Garden Open Day.

Traditional performer and speaker Jamie Thomas at the Warrnambool Community Garden Open Day.

Mr Thomas said his song was a “celebration of being here” and to “share the space as it should have been done in the first place”. 

Warrnambool mayor Kylie Gaston welcomed the new garden with praise. 

“It continues to grow and evolve,” she said. “Every time I come here it looks different – not just because things are growing but because of the things people are doing.” 

Warrnambool Mayor Kylie Gaston welcomed the new bush food garden.

Warrnambool Mayor Kylie Gaston welcomed the new bush food garden.

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