Cultural project approved

By Olivia Duffey

Approval has been granted for a community outdoor learning area to be constructed at the Werrpanakata Fish Park in Deniliquin.

The new outdoor covered area will be installed on the island which sits in the middle of the Brown’s Park lagoon.

A curved eco board wall will be shaped to represent a coolamon, or bark bowl, and will surround a fire pit.

The structure will be complemented by the propagation of culturally significant plants, and seating.

Yarkuwa chair Jeanette Crew said it will serve as an educational facility, particularly on Wamba Wamba Perrepa Perrepa culture, and also a social meeting place.

She said it is part of a bigger project to educate and share the history of the local Aboriginal community.

‘‘We applied for some funding a while back to build the community outdoor learning area and special gathering place, and to develop the island with some landscaping through the Aboriginal Fishing Trust Fund, which has been approved,’’ she said.

‘‘It has taken a while due to other processes interfering, but the development application to Edward River Council has gone through and we can start looking at when we can do the actual work to build the COLA.

‘‘We have had several gatherings down there already, had cooking demonstrations and lunches. We’ve taken tools there to teach about culturally significant plants and what they are used for.

‘‘So the aim of the COLA is to assist in these learning processes and public education.’’

Yarkuwa’s development builds on the establishment of the fish park, and the lagoons restoration project.

‘‘The lagoon itself has been prepared, the bottom is prepared, and some fish have already gone in, so this has been developing along with the program,’’ Mrs Crew said.

‘‘I would say the benefits of all these upgrades are enormous to our community.

‘‘We are looking forward to further utilising the space when the COLA is built, and to inviting locals and tourists to stop and have a look at the signage which has been installed.’’