Minimbah Gardens is a beautiful and precious area located within Gloucester District Park. The gardens were conceived by people of vision and were opened in 2003 to help promote a better understanding of the Aboriginal history and culture in the Gloucester region and to showcase indigenous plants. Much commitment and work went into establishing the gardens and they have been visited by hundreds of people over the years, and a number of local people have spent much time caring for the gardens since its creation.
However time takes its toll, and it was recently noted that some extra work was needed to bring the gardens back to their original condition, so late last year the Gloucester Environment Group (GEG) was approached by the Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group (BWNG) to assist with rejuvenation work. BWNG had received a federal grant, with a condition that much of the work was to be undertaken by volunteers, which is where GEG came in.
GEG appointed a sub-committee, including several members of the Aboriginal community, to plan and progress the work. From the outset it was determined to consult widely to try and ensure that whatever work was done was consistent with the original philosophy and intent of the gardens.
The plan is to rejuvenate, not to change, what is a wonderful site. The first activity was on Saturday, July 4 and began with a moving Welcome to Country. This was followed by lots of weeding as over 30 volunteers spent the morning hard at work. It was amazing what treasures were found, which had been hidden by weeds. A second weeding/planting morning will be on Saturday July 25 from 8.30am. Volunteers are welcome, with the proviso that they join GEG at a cost of $15.
The second stage will be to restore such things as broken stairs and fences. One very important aim is to devise a more effective way to inform non-indigenous people about the rich, but neglected, history of Aboriginal people in the Gloucester region, and to provide information about bush tucker and plants. It is anticipated that this will be done through a website which visitors to the gardens will be able to access on their phones.
Minimbah is just one of the activities of GEG. Other activities include: 'Rivercare' bush regeneration along the Gloucester River, 'Koalaways' planting trees on private properties for koalas, monthly bushwalks, seasonal feasts, promoting a better understanding of local Aboriginal history and culture, developing a 'single-use plastic free Gloucester' initiative, and sharing and discussing ways to preserve and improve Gloucester's beautiful environment. To join call 0457 422 862 or check out the Facebook page.