MYST makes Indigenous garden

Medical garden: Youth workers Jamie Murray (left) and Melody James (centre) with students Luke Rash, Alex Liehr, Sean Small and Zale Croxford in the Aunty Carol Cooper Indigenous cultural garden at MYST.
Medical garden: Youth workers Jamie Murray (left) and Melody James (centre) with students Luke Rash, Alex Liehr, Sean Small and Zale Croxford in the Aunty Carol Cooper Indigenous cultural garden at MYST.

Students from several local high schools and the Springwood Youth Centre are busy cultivating plants significant to the local Aboriginal community.

Under the direction of Jamie Murray, Mountains Youth Services Team (MYST) co-ordinator, about a dozen students recently constructed an Aboriginal Bush Medicine Garden in the grounds of MYST, at 59 Springwood Avenue, which pays homage the traditional custodians.

“They nailed it,” said Mr Murray of the group’s planting efforts over two days earlier this month.

“The garden was built to provide a heal[ing] space for Aboriginal and non Aboriginal peoples. Kids from the youth centre and Springwood High work crew and many other local schools installed it with me.”

The native garden of seedlings will grow into plants and bushes used by Aboriginal people as food, medicine or tools. Mr Murray gathered the seedlings from many sources for the planting on September 13 and 14.

There are some 300 medicine and edible plants all local to the Aboriginal people of this area in MYST’s front garden – plants like Cissus Hypoglauca for sore throats, Clematis Aristata for fevers and cuts, Dodonaea Viscosa for toothaches and sandpaper fig for wounds.

“We have named it after Aunty Carol Cooper for all her amazing youth support she does with our Aboriginal youth,” Mr Murray said.

They have set up a nursery to provide young people an opportunity to grow Aboriginal plants and have four schools who are interested in ordering plants and/or setting up their own Indigenous cultural garden.

Community members, home schooled children and Greens councillor Kerry Brown also assisted with the project, with funds provided by MYST and Deadlee Gap Koori radio on 93.7. 

Mr Murray was formerly an Aboriginal Men and Youth Health worker at council whose position was discontinued when funding ran out.