Aboriginal knowledge shapes master plan

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this article contains images of people who may have died.

Aboriginal Elders, community members and hospital staff have participated in a Listening to Country session to help the New Bankstown Hospital project team better understand the needs of Aboriginal people, and how we can embed First Nations understanding in our design.

About 20 First Nations people attended the session last month which was a follow-up to the Design Jam held in the previous stage of the project.

“It’s always beautiful to see the Uncles and Aunties we haven’t seen for a while,” Yerrabingin facilitator and proud Maneroo Woiwurrung man Christian Hampson said.

“When we were first talking about the project it was very much in the future but now we’re starting to talk about some the tangible opportunities and ideas for designing with Country.”

Christian said there were a number of strong ideas, including what one Aunty described as “having landscape that wraps around you”.

“Urban places need connection to the texture of the environment, and plants for mental health well-being,” Christian said.

"Community are seeing themselves in the idea of the design, how it will look and feel, and talking about how people can be open and acknowledge all cultures.”

Some of the key themes from the day included:
  • Welcoming places inspired by Country that are part of our social and cultural network
  • Inviting Country into the building​ and green spaces to enjoy so you feel connected even when you can’t go outside
  • Seeing sky and nature – we all share one space collectively and that’s the sky
  • A place you go to be well​
  • Accessible for everyone
  • Well-designed, safe places gather away from main public areas, with some privacy for Sorry Business
  • Yarning circle where you can have a rest and a breather
  • Use of colour
  • Managing urban heat​
  • Easy parking with a good arrival experience​ (drop-off area)
  • Comfortable connection to CBD transport​
  • Intuitive wayfinding​.
The consultation session was the first of several including workshops and pop-up information sessions across our diverse community.

Community members have also invited to participate in an online survey.

Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital acting general manager Jennifer Assaf said it’s important for people to share their ideas.  
“The master plan is expected to be released in late 2024 and there will be plenty of opportunities to see the plan and ask questions,” Jennifer said.

“This will be a very special project for our unique community and we will keep everyone up to date as the project progresses.”

Our workshop took place on Darug Country.  With thanks to Yerrabingin and SWSLHD Aboriginal Health.

Related story: Design Jam

Above: Local Elders Aunty Bev, Aunty Gloria, Aunty Dawn and Aunty Laura at the workshop

Above: Project team members with local Elder Uncle John at the Listening to Country workshop

Design Jam

Our first design jam in 2022 set the scene for our site workshop.

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