See whats next for The Dedicated Indigenous Garden and Sculpture (DIGS) project, at the Narrawong District Primary School,



After a big rebuild, Narrawong District Primary School will see another exciting transformation to their school in term four. Local artist Catherine Bailey and Nature Glenelg Trust’s Lauren Kivisalu are working with the students and school community as part of the “Dedicated Indigenous Garden and Sculpture (DIGS)” project.

During this project, the students have explored connections – the connections between local plants and animals, and their own connections to the local environment, to their peers, and to culture. As part of the project, work will start in Jan 2019 to transform a small area of the school grounds into a creative outdoor learning space, featuring local native food and resource plants, and a series of sculptural elements including a fire globe.  The students will also be learning about connections in a series of workshops in their indoor, as well as their new ‘outdoor’ classroom.

Catherine has helped the students to design artworks based on what they’ve learnt to be featured on the central fire globe and a mosaic paving area.

As the garden grows the students will also be able to examine the features of iconic local plants and learn more about how they provide habitat resources for flora and fauna, as well as their uses by Gunditjmara people for food, fibre and medicine.

We look forward to sharing some pics of the new outdoor learning space as it begins to take shape!

The project is being supported by the RMIT University’s Helen and Geoff Handbury Fellowship program, as well as DELWP’s Coastcare program, Port of Portland EcoPort Grant, Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation, and local businesses.


The Next Steps for the DIGS Project

In recent weeks Catherine has worked with parents to cut and prepare student’s designs to be sandblasted by local stonemason Geoff Pullman onto bluestone pavers.

In early January 2019 landscaper Phil King will be working to construct the outdoor garden and learning space in the school grounds. This will include a central paved circle with the fire globe sculpture created by Catherine and local artist Andrew Walsh and pavers featuring the student’s designs.

Once the summer breaks, many indigenous plants will be waiting to be planted out with the help of Lauren, students and Winda Mara rangers.

In late Autumn 2019 we will have an opening for the community to explore the outdoor garden area and give students the chance to share their learnings from throughout the project.

People who dig the DIGS Project
For the first stage of the DIGS project, many individuals, groups, organisations and businesses have come together to support the project.

– The Helen and Geoff Handbury Fellowship Program
– Narrawong and District Primary School Pupils and Parents
– Narrawong and District Primary School Board
– Narrawong and District Primary School Principal and Teachers
– Associate Professor Yaso Nadarajah, from RMIT’s Postgraduate International Development  Program, Centre for Social & Global Studies
– Ms Annisa Istighfari, Masters student from RMIT’s Postgraduate International Development Program
– Bamstone Pty
– Mr Geoff Pullman (Stonemason)
– Mr Phil KIng (Contract landscaping)
– Mr Huseiyn Kawasaka (Landscaping support)
– Portland Exhaust Centre
– Whitehorse Industries
– Boral
– DELWP Coastcare Program
– Port of Portland Ecoport Grants Program
– Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation
– Woodrowe’s Tree Removalists, Heywood

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