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Mununjali Community Hall healing garden – RIG News, Oct 2012

2012 November 2
by anthea
PA230040

Placemaking garden at Beaudesert underway

Community Engaging Community for a Bright Future

Starting a community project can be a daunting task to say the least, but the Mununjali Housing Development Company had the foresight, a little good luck and support from the community to plan and design landscape improvements to a key place in the community, the Mununjali Community Hall.

Using a participatory design process to create a vision and design that incorporates a range of attractive features the community wanted, plans are well in place to build upon the ‘hardscape’ features that have been built by a local team to further create a welcoming garden where people can meet, socialise and access a range of services.

The Mununjali Housing Company had identified a long term project within the Mununjali Community Hall to provide improved facilities for the established family support and counseling work that is done at the Mununjali Jymbi Centre.  The regular Playgroups, Homework Club, Men’s and Women’s groups as well as counseling meant the hall was constantly in use.  However the outdoor areas were lacking basic comforts such as shade, seating and privacy, meaning they offered limited use.  With no undercover outdoor shelter, no disabled access and little visual appeal, the hall’s landscape was in need of an upgrade.  The Mununjali project coordinators Karyn Perrett and Deanne Viellaris put a plan in place and secured funding from the Healing Foundation to commence the project.

A Civic Solutions program was secured to work with Mununjali Housing Company on various projects including the community hall.  This partnership gave a local group of young men the opportunity to have on-the-job landscape construction training & work experience.  Furthermore, it gave the project a solid work crew for 10 weeks, who could focus on the upgrade work and bolstered the modest budget by covering the labour costs.

Mununjali wanted to create a community led project and so the project coordinators asked the community what their vision was for the hall and how the hall could be improved.  The response was to improve the landscape features, provide play areas for children, create a welcoming space to gather, to talk and a place to listen….a healing place.  Working with Delve Consulting, a landscape masterplan was drawn up, and distributed to the community for feedback. The comments and input received were encouraging and work soon got underway, with support sought and gained from local businesses that provided in-kind support and helped source materials. A range of existing materials from the site was reused in the new design.

The landscape masterplan has incorporated all the elements requested by the community and Mununjali Housing Company. The design provides a natural playground for the children with a water efficient water pump / waterway, stepping stones and fallen logs in sand for play and texture, a large outdoor covered workshop area, quiet seating / listening places, as well as yarning circles for counseling and private conversations.  Proposed native gardens will provide shade and landscape character with a healing story garden of bush tucker, medicinal and other local plants.

This hardscape stage of the project is near completion with the Civic Solutions crew having two weeks before they complete their training course.  Karyn says “They have helped us cut costs a lot…they have been great to work with and we are right on schedule”. The pathways, timber shelter, garden furniture, yarning circles and waterway mud play area will give the final touches to the garden hardscape and present the gardens ‘formed up’ ready for celebratory community planting days.

Pictured below, some of the garden’s hardscape features:

The next stage of the project is the engagement of local aboriginal artists to commence a series of community workshops to create artworks within the landscape communicating stories through stencils, sculpture and murals etc.  Deanne says, “There is going to be a lot of interest and a lot of involvement around the future project”.

The Mununjali Community Hall Landscape Upgrade project has provided a framework and place for many wonderful new ways of healing, celebrating and being together.

Mununjali Housing Development Company and the Mununjali Jymbi Centre are located at Beaudesert, some 60km south of Brisbane and 60km west of the Gold Coast within the subtropical south east corner of Queensland.

Story and images kindly provided by Emma Baker, Delve Consulting, Brisbane, with acknowledgement and thanks to, and permission from, Karyn Perrett and Deanne Viellaris, the Mununjali Project.

If you or your community are interested in working with Delve Consulting to help design and create gardens where you are, contact Emma Baker, Landscape Architect, Delve Consulting, emma (at) delveconsulting.com.au

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