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MEDIA RELEASE - Indigenous artwork a key element of new Playspace

5 March 2020

The highly anticipated Portland Foreshore’s $1.25 million All Abilities Playspace has officially opened to the public, welcoming families from the across the region to the new state of art, purpose designed facility.

In addition to playground equipment, the Playspace design includes a number of unique Indigenous artwork and nature play elements which pay homage to the region’s rich cultural heritage.

“Council staff have worked closely with Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation to depict the story of local Indigenous flora and fauna in the Playspace,” Cr Mayor Anita Rank explained.

“Six sculptures and play elements have been incorporated into the facility to help tell the narrative of the Six Seasons of the Gunditjmara. Similar to Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring, the Six Seasons are based on predictable weather patterns, however the Six Seasons are specific to the south west region.

“These elements will provide an educational tool for children and adults alike, as well as ensuring these important stories of our shire’s cultural heritage continued to be shared for generations to come.”

Gunditjmara Forestry & Engagement Co-ordinator Shea Rotumah explained the Six Seasons and the changes each season has upon food production and behaviour from flora and fauna.

“The Gunditjmara people’s lives are governed by the seasons and environmental, flora and fauna indicators that tell us when natural resources are in abundance, when to burn country, and other land management practices,” he said.

“Drying out time begins when the wind is coming from the north, its starts to warm up, grasses seed and the blue tongue lizard begin to soak up the sun

“The big dry is when the swamps and waterholes dry out, tubers are harvested and there are coastal fruits in abundance.

“The early wet is the time to burn country for regeneration, cleaning out and this is when heavy dews begin to form.

“The big wet has heavy rains, frogs call and brolgas begin to dance, looking for a mate.

“Flowering time tells us the eels are swimming upstream, bees are pollenating and insects are busy.

“Fattening up time is when yams are harvested, Ballart begins to fruit and the grass and scrub thickens up.

“The seasons aren’t set by certain dates, but by atmospheric change and provide the best way to care for country through an intrinsic connection and knowledge of country, that Gunditjmara people have developed over thousands of generations.”


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