The new contemporary playspace design reflects the natural environment and the City’s rich Dharawal Aboriginal cultural history. It will also incorporate the inclusive design principles in the NSW Government’s Everyone Can Play guideline, to enhance sense of place and connection for people of all ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds.
Yirran muru, which translates to ‘many pathways’ in the local Dharawal language, is a new contemporary play space designed to reflect the natural environment and the city’s rich Dharawal Aboriginal culture and history.
From the escarpment to the sea, Yirran muru will take people of all ages on a cultural journey following in the footsteps of local Aboriginal people.
The official opening ceremony was held on Tuesday 18 April at 11am with a traditional smoking ceremony by Gawura and Aboriginal performance and dance by Gumaraa and Kugang Djambi before a community create & play event at 12pm involving cultural workshops, craft activities and a free bbq lunch.
The play space is nestled in the native gardens at the rear of the Shellharbour Civic Centre, affectionately known as ‘the backyard’.
About the new play space
This unique project in nestled in the native gardens behind Shellharbour Civic Centre. From the escarpment to the sea, the Aboriginal interpretive playspace will take you on a cultural journey following the footsteps of local Aboriginal people.
Discover our area in a new light as you learn about the cultural significance of the historic landscapes that define it.
There are multiple elements to interact with and encourage imaginative exploration. Visit Burri Burri, a four metre hand carved interactive timber whale, to hear the story of Gang man Gang; climb Merrigong (the Illawarra escarpment) and explore the amazing treehouse; canoe across Jubborsay (Lake Illawarra) and source local bush tucker!
The educational playspace will also have areas where the spoken words of the local Dharawal language can be heard and signage to learn more about cultural ties.
Each of the play features are designed to enhance children’s understanding of the seasonal movements of Aboriginal people in the local area and connection through creation stories
Council engaged with over 300 local indigenous school students along with local Elders as part of Reconciliation Celebrations and in-school workshops. This engagement encouraged conversations with the various stakeholders to gain an understanding of ideas for the play space, we discovered that young people prefer to learn by exploring and self-discovery, while the Elders expressed their desire to provide opportunities to learn about local Aboriginal stories how people moved around Shellharbour.