Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

New Shepparton garden to support Indigenous tradition

Work on a new Indigenous weaving garden at Australian National Botanic Gardens in Kialla is almost complete.

CHLOE WARBURTON August 4, 2014 3:53am

City of Greater Shepparton Mayor and garden committee chair Jenny Houlihan at the new weaving garden at the Australian Botanic Gardens in Kialla.

The first stages of a unique Indigenous weaving garden are nearing completion after a working bee at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Kialla last week.

The garden will feature seating and a variety of native grasses that can be used for weaving.

City of Greater Shepparton Mayor and garden committee chair Jenny Houlihan said the idea came from a discussion with Gallery Kaiela director Angie Russi, who indicated a class that taught traditional Indigenous weaving was having trouble sourcing grass to use for projects.

‘‘It would be a place for people to come and pick the grass, and there’ll be seating so they can sit and weave,’’ Cr Houlihan said.

The area features ironbark seating, which will have steel woven through the bases, and several posts were put in place last week that will form a major part of the garden and will also feature decorative steel.

There are also plans for a shelter made from another traditional Australian icon — a Hills Hoist clothesline.

The Australian Botanic Gardens has been a work in progress for several years at the site of the old Kialla Tip, which was once the Kialla Village Settlements, established in 1893.

The 26ha site features seven specific collections of plants and an edible terrace garden that contains native Australian plants Indigenous people would have used as a food source.

Volunteers and the Friends of Australia Botanic Gardens Shepparton do the majority of the work on the gardens.

Cr Houlihan said the site was a great asset to the area and paid tribute to the town’s history.

‘‘We’ve had people from other botanic gardens in the country visit and say they’ve never seen anything quite like this before — a garden that is based on the area’s cultural and historical significance,’’ she said.

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