25 September 2023

Indigenous staff to plant for Floriade

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ACT Public Service staff with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage are to join the Floriade gardening team next Tuesday (4 June) to plant bulbs in the Indigenous Australia flowerbed, as an indication of the Public Service’s commitment to reconciliation.

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Rachel Stephen-Smith said this year’s Floriade theme, World in Bloom, would be highlighted through more than 23 flowerbeds with each continent from across the globe represented.

“The Indigenous Australia flowerbed is a collaboration between Floriade and the National Arboretum Canberra and was inspired by the design of an Aboriginal shield held by the National Museum of Australia,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“The shield is a carved wooden object with a strong chevron design element used as inspiration for the ochre-coloured plantings of annuals and bulbs including tulips, daffodils and pansies.”

She said running through the garden bed was a river of blue muscari used to reference the significance of Canberra to the Ngunnawal and surrounding Aboriginal groups as a meeting place along the Murrumbidgee River.

“The staff members involved in the Floriade planting will harvest some new shields and a coolamon from local trees to use during Floriade to demonstrate the presence of a living and dynamic culture in the Canberra community,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

Staff of the ACT PS expected to take part in the project include the Senior Director of the National Arboretum Canberra, Scott Sadler; Executive Branch Manager of Events ACT, Jo Verden; Floriade Head Gardener, Andrew Forster; as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff from across the Service.

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