Persistence and optimism pay off for the Wallaga Lake Koori village, as its new playground nears completion.
The Red Cross, Ngaardi Women’s Group and Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council worked together on the project.
Children at the Red Cross/Ngaardi Women’s Group holiday program were excited enough to stand in the rain for a picture with the new equipment. They have been involved from the very beginning, drawing wish lists for their dream playground.
The playground is just one part of a push to revitalise the community. Earlier this year, CEO of Merriman’s Local Aboriginal Land Council, Terry Hill, announced plans to turn the Umbarra Cultural Centre into a cultural hub for the region.
Julie Kirk, of the Red Cross, said the playground push had received enormous support.
"We got a grant from a social housing fund about six months ago of about $50,000, and then the Red Cross has put in some funding and we’ve had donations from Bunnings," she said.
"Fulton Hogan came out and levelled the site as an in-kind contribution – so there has been a lot of support in getting it up and running, and the playground has been something the community have wanted forever.
"The kids are working on a mural with clay that’s going to form part of the playground. We want them to be a part of the development, not just us adults."
Young Alicia Parsons certainly felt a sense of pride about her part in the project.
"It will look good and everyone will love playing on it," she said.