Adults and school students planting tree for Reconciliation Week


Growing together: National Reconciliation Week 2022

Published: 03 Nov 2022 11:05am

Wagga Wagga City Council held several tree planting ceremonies at Wilga Park in Kooringal recently with the assistance of Wiradjuri Elders and local children as part of the Nguluway Reconciliation Event 2022.

Council’s Aboriginal Community Development Officer Bernard Higgins said Nguluway –a Wiradjuri word meaning ‘Meeting Each Other’ – demonstrates Council’s commitment towards reconciliation.

“When we’re talking about reconciliation and the meaning of Nguluway and about ‘Meeting Each Other’, it’s about making a commitment to each side of the discussion,” Mr Higgins said.

Two primary school students and Wiradjuri Elder planting tree at Wilga Park
GROWING TOGETHER: (from left) Kooringal Public School students Ruby Brooks and Halle Shaw plant a new tree with Jackie Ingram.

“It’s very important for Council to discuss with the community what they would like and show through our actions Council’s commitment to reconciliation.

“As part of this year’s event, Council worked with the Kooringal Working Group and came up with the idea of increasing shade in Wilga Park for the community.

“When we planted five trees around the nature strip about two months ago with Elders and community members, we identified a few more spots which could benefit from having shade once the trees grow, so we’ve now planted another three trees around the seating areas.”

Indigenous woman, school students and council employee planting tree at Wilga Park
TEAM EFFORT: (from left) Maxine Honeysett from ‘Girls at the Centre’, Leelan Charles from Kooringal Public School, Madi McIntyre from Mount Austin High School, and Wagga Wagga City Council Arboriculturist Ashley Clark.

Last week’s event involved students from Mount Austin High School’s ‘Girls at the Centre’ initiative run by The Smith Family, Kooringal Public School pupils, Wiradjuri and First Nations representative Jackie Ingram, as well as representatives from Australian Unity, headspace Wagga Wagga, and Local Land Services.

“As a Wiradjuri person and a member of the community as well, I find these kinds of initiatives at work very important,” Mr Higgins said.

“They make me feel that it is a culturally safe place to work because I feel that it shows that we (Council) are walking the walk and are committed to reconciliation with the First Nations people of Wagga Wagga.”