Bush classroom opened at Katoomba Public

Students and staff at Katoomba Public have a new "bush classroom" to enjoy.

On Friday, July 26, the area known as Gunar Garung, or Mountain Top Child, was officially opened.

The area was designed by students from the school's Koori Club and includes native plants, paths and a fire pit. The area had to be cleared of grass and mulched, and many natives replanted after cockatoos took a liking to many of the young plants.

It was all made possible thanks to a $49,000 federal government national landcare grant, and the support of the school's P&C association.

Principal Fiona Paine said students could come together to learn about culture and to connect with country and each other in the bush classroom.

"We've had Koori Club for a good many years, but our knowledge of how important that connecting to country is for students and all of us, that has come from Aunty Carol," Ms Paine said.

As part of the school's wellbeing program, students and staff have "circle time" where they share what's on their mind, and they've already been doing this around the new fire pit, Ms Paine said. The Koori Club students even broke out the marshmallows, and there have been a few staff meetings around the fire as well.

Aunty Carol spoke at the launch about how the area would "unite everybody", and Uncle Shane Smithers held a smoking ceremony, explaining to the students walking through the smoke was "like having a bath. You let things go that are bothering you and you feel happier and cleaner after."

At the launch, the Koori Club also performed a play about the creation of the space.

Katoomba High School's Aboriginal space Birriban, was also a source of inspiration in the design of Gunar Garung.

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