In recognition of NAIDOC Week 2020, Katoomba Leura pre-school unveiled a striking Indigenous mural and pebble walkway to honour the First Nations people.
With $10,000 in grant money from the NSW government and Blue Mountains City Council, the pre-school enlisted artists Leanne Tobin, her son Shay Tobin and landscapers and artists Paul Glass and Mick Owen.
Ms Tobin called her work Ngayiri Budjeri Gumada (pronounced ngair-ee bood-jeri goomada) meaning bringing good spirit.
She said she wanted an idea to represent the community and the pre-school and was drawn to the Garraway (the sulphur crested cockatoo) which represents family. She said an actual cockatoo kept her company during the 12 hours of painting in Lett Street.
"Cockatoos gather and look out for each other and work together as a strong community," she said.
Other features of the mural are the circles, the waratah and the wollemi. The circles are a regular feature in Indigenous works, representing different families and community groups all working together for a common good and the waratah and wollemi "identify our unique places in the Mountains".
"The waratah is a symbol of friendship and respect. In first contact times, it was gifted to those colonists who showed kindness and respect to the Darug people. The wollemi, ancient and resilient, is an acknowledgment of the strength and timelessness of this land and its people," she added.
Pre-school teacher and event co-ordinator Alison Staniford said the pre-school wanted to show the community that their place was one that welcomed and respected Indigenous families and their stories. About five per cent of the 110 children at the pre-school are Indigenous.
Ms Tobin said she was struck by the "beautiful energy and buzz" of the pre-school.
She added that local Indigenous people had survived COVID by bunkering down and supporting one another.
MP Trish Doyle said she had been proud to recommend the project for funding.