For the past three years, Emora Park on Landa Street, Bowenfels, hosted monthly community barbecues.
The event brought the community together with police, Lithgow AECG, families, community services, health professionals and sporting groups. This built upon positive relationships within our community and services, and attracted, on average, 100 people each month.
A special gathering, held at the park on Thursday 15 March, marked three years of the program and recognised the work done in revitalising Emora Park for the community’s use.
- Welcome to Country was delivered by Aunty Kym Gulmarra Cama.
- Aunty Kym also explained why we do Welcome to Country and why it has been done as protocol for over 65,000 years
- Opening celebrations included students from Cooerwull Public School, guided by Aunty Kym, introducing themselves before performing for the delighted crowd.
- The girls’ dance group name is Dyirridyirri Waaga-dines. In English it means ‘the Willy Wagtail dancers’ and the boys call themselves Yidaki (Didgeridoo Mob).
- New Emora Park playground for Bowenfels residents.
The playground, constructed at a cost of $65,000 through a state government grant, became a well-used public facility.
Lithgow police inspector Chris Sammut said he remembered how the park looked three years ago.
“It was a lovely park with literally no facilities. The tennis courts were dilapidated and there were clearly structural integrity issues with its fence,” said Inspector Sammut.
The idea of starting a barbecue project came as a result of a meeting with new backboards and rings. Lithgow Lazers team members regularly attended and played at the barbecues, along with youths. The park land is owned by the Family and Community Services (FACS) and cared for by the Lithgow Council.
Inspector Sammut said that NSW FACS Minister Brad Hazzard and Bathurst MP Paul Toole supported the park’s creation. Thanks went to Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Aboriginal Liaison Officer Sonia Cox who was instrumental in pulling together all the services to provide the community barbecue, the VRA who manned the barbecue, and Aunty Gayle and Uncle Owen from Lithgow AECG for being there every month to serve the families their barbecue.
Four young Aboriginal men, who were inmates at the time at Lithgow Correctional Centre, created the artwork for the backboards. The men volunteered their time to create the artwork, which took hundreds of hours to complete. The design featured the goanna (the representation of the local Aboriginal people) surrounding a meeting place (a safe place for everyone). Other design features included figures, footprints and patterned rivers, which reinforced the message that this is a place of belonging, fun and friendship.