New playground artwork fuses education and culture

A NEW collection of artwork at the All Abilities Playground in Pialba has incorporated Butchulla culture to help inform children and park users about the local community.

Butchulla Elder and artist Karen Hall explains the meaning behind the new artwork at the All Abilities Park in Hervey Bay to Fraser Coast Division 9 Councillor David Lee. PHOTO: Shaun Ryan.

Butchulla Elder and artist Aunty Karen Hall said the artwork was created on a series of poles and tells the stories of local families.

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Indigenous families who volunteered helped design shield patterns that were painted onto the poles.

“Men from about six Butchulla family lines participated. Young men from 16-years to around 50 got involved. It was lovely to have that communication and gentle connection going on. They were connecting and sharing culture, life and experiencing being artists themselves,” said Aunty Karen.

She said it was always Butchulla men who protected and looked after children.

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The shield designs represent those men who will look over and protect the young children exploring, learning and interacting with others their own age at the playground.

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Aunty Karen also drew on her experience as a teacher to add an extra element to the pole art that fitted the ‘all abilities’ nature of the park.

The tops of the poles include sand images of native animal species as well as their traditional Butchulla names.

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The names – in Butchulla – are also written in braille allowing children and park visitors with vision impairments to experience the artwork as well.

“The sand images are tactile and can be felt by the visually impaired and the braille means people who struggle with their sight can feel and read the names,” Aunty Karen explained.

The All Abilities Park and Seafront Oval precinct is located on culturally significant land for the Butchulla people.

“Where Seafront Oval is situated has always been a meeting place for us,” said Aunty Karen.

“As Butchulla we care for country and all those who live in it, so it’s great we can have this interactive playground that is educational and accessible for all people who visit it.”

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Division 9 Councillor David Lee said it was important for the new artwork at the all abilities playground to have educational and cultural elements.

“The artwork has braille included so it can be experienced by those with visual impairments and the playground is accessible to those in wheelchairs,” Cr Lee said.

“The cultural element means it’s not just about play but it is also educational and acknowledges the contribution of the local Butchulla community on this land.”

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Cr Lee said he would now be pushing for signage to be installed at the park so visitors understand the meaning and importance of the artwork.

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