A reflection corner designed to help Defence personnel deepen their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures has been revealed at RAAF Base Amberley.
More than 30 local Elders and emerging leaders joined members of Joint Logistics Unit – South Queensland (JLU-SQ) for a special ceremony to unveil the reflection corner and strengthen local commitment to Defence’s Pathway to Change.
The reflection corner is an immersive space combining a garden and artwork designed by JLU-SQ and local students from the Hymba Yumba, a local Prep-Year 12 school.
RAAF Amberley Indigenous liaison officer Flight Lieutenant Kristal House said the reflection corner was a unique and innovative way to show "visible commitment" to diversity and inclusion.
“This is a wonderful initiative from JLU-SQ as it will encourage thought and deepen cultural awareness,” Flight Lieutenant House said.
“Our local elders were particularly impressed by the idea and have told me they would love other bases across the nation to develop similar places as it fosters better understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the land on which we work and meet.”
“This is a wonderful initiative ... as it will encourage thought and deepen cultural awareness.”
Commanding Officer JLU-SQ, Lieutenant Colonel Meegan Olding, said her unit came up with the idea of a reflection corner when looking for ways to actively embody Defence’s Pathway to Change in conjunction with the new Reconciliation Action Plan.
“We wanted to find a way to recognise the importance of empowerment in the workplace and cultural reform, while working towards achieving Defence’s vision for diversity and inclusion,” Lieutenant Colonel Olding said.
“Our reflection corner captures the essence of incredible cultures and is just one part of our unit’s plan to deepen Defence’s relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
Lieutenant Colonel Olding said her unit had been focused on developing stronger ties with local Indigenous peoples over the past year.
“For example, our members regularly engaged with students from Hymba Yumba and developed a close relationship with the school,” she said.
“One aspect of our engagement plan was an art workshop that not only fostered greater rapport for our interaction but also created cultural links for the students and a local artist.
“Over a series of workshops, local Aboriginal artist Eric Ellis worked with all of us to help create a painting that told the story of diversity, reconciliation and shared meaning. This is now the centrepiece of our reflection corner.”
The reflection corner’s garden, which pays homage to the traditional owners and custodians of the land through its use of native flora, was created by horticulturalist Bruce Morgan (Phillips) who specialises in the education of bush tucker and garden design.