There were many proud faces at the official opening of Kellyville Public School's Aboriginal garden on Thursday.
Built in consultation with Darug elders — traditional custodians of the land at Kellyville — the Guganagina Nguarang garden, meaning "Place of kookaburras", and "Garribirri Ngyilanga", or "Coming together bridge", were celebrated by the staff, pupils and wider community members who helped to build them.
Darug custodian Aunty Edna Watson, whose six children and two grandchildren have attended Kellyville Public School, delivered a "welcome to country" to open the special assembly.
She thanked the people involved for choosing Darug names for the garden.
"We share this heritage with those whose hearts are open enough to receive it," she said.
Principal Jenny Walker said she was proud of the school's gardening efforts.
"Our stage 2 students really studied hard and looked at how we can put an Aboriginal garden in this school, not just for now but for future generations," she said.
Pupils in years 5 and 6 measured and constructed the bridge, while years 3 and 4 pupils dug and planted the garden.
At the opening ceremony, kindergarten and year 1 pupils sang ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ in Darug and English, while year 3 pupils explained how the garden took shape.
‘‘We went on a tour around the school and identified the many types of introduced and native plants such as lavender, roses, gum trees, grevillias and banksias. We learnt about the different types of fauna such as lizards possums and native birds that once lived and still live in this area today,’’ Amy Hanna said.
Toil and soil
■ It took about six weeks, two tonnes of rock, one tonne of soil, four tonnes of mulch and 136 native plants to build Kellyville Public school’s Aboriginal garden.
■ Planted in the garden are grevillias, kangaroo paws, banksia, gum trees, gymea lillies, lily pillies, and grass trees. The flower stalks from the grass tree were used as a lightweight spear shaft by Aboriginal people, and the tree’s resin used to attach points to the spears.