The Port Macquarie Courthouse Community Yarning Circle is already bringing people together.
Attorney General Mark Speakman congratulated everyone who contributed to the new space. The yarning circle was officially launched on Tuesday, December 20.
The occasion included an address from Mr Speakman, a smoking ceremony led by Amos Donovan from Bunyah Local Aboriginal Land Council and the yarning circle unveiling.
Birpai community elder Aunty Rhonda Radley spoke about the cultural significance of yarning circles.
Armani Daly read a children's story and Hastings Secondary College Dance Group performed.
Aunty Rhonda said there was an invitation for individuals, community groups and families to come to the space to sit, have a yarn and reflect.
The project features artwork from Lori-ann McKinnon, sandstone block seating and landscaping, with connecting pathways inviting people into the yarning circle.
Mr Speakman said he was honoured to be part of the official opening of the yarning circle at the Port Macquarie Courthouse - it was a wonderful, celebratory event.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have used yarning circles for thousands of years, providing a safe, respectful place to speak and be heard," he said.
"This yarning circle provides a place to reflect, sit and share."
It will also be used by the Aboriginal Legal Service for client conferencing and a breakout space for mediation.
"Its location, here at the courthouse, will provide support for people navigating the justice system," Mr Speakman said.
"It is intended the space will be used also by members of the local community, visitors to the court, staff working at the courthouse, as well as a story-time excursion destination for local schools and preschools."
Configured with natural sandstone and surrounded by native melaleuca, lilly pilly, lomandra grass and westringia, the yarning circle has transformed a previously overlooked patch of land into a welcoming, inclusive space, he said.
A team effort brought the project together after Helen Daley had the vision for the yarning circle.
The area was transformed through the collaboration of court staff, the Birpai Local Aboriginal Land Council and other agencies.
BGIS was engaged as the facility management company to carry out the inclusion and sustainability project on behalf of the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, and Dice Contracting was subsequently engaged as the head contractor to deliver the works.
Dice Contracting thanked BNJ Landscaping for its outstanding work in the construction phase.
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