Wonnarua artist and designer Saretta Fielding has visited the new Maitland Hospital development to see her design and storytelling coming to life through the installation of the arbour.
A key design feature of the NSW Government's $470 million new Maitland Hospital is the 75-metre arbour - essentially a veranda - that will provide covered pedestrian access from the northern carpark to the main entry.
It's the first of its kind to be used in Australia at this scale and uses slim bricks, known as Flexbrick, to create dynamic patterns.
Through Saretta's work, the arbour will tell the story of the Wonnarua people, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which the new Maitland Hospital is built.
"The traditional symbolism in the design celebrates the culture of the Wonnarua people," Ms Fielding said.
"It reflects connection to country and invites the community to celebrate and learn through visual storytelling.
"The design shares the ongoing story of the Wonnarua people - taking in the past, present and future.
"It acknowledges Aboriginal people as the longest living culture in the world and the valuable cultural knowledge they bring to the wider community."
The images in the arbour depict the community walking together, which is symbolic for the walkway. It includes symbols that represent the Wonnarua Elders and their place in the community as leaders, teachers and knowledge keepers.
Other symbols used in the design include the wedgetail eagle, the Hunter River, wetlands and lakes.
Hunter New England Chief Executive Michael DiRienzo said it's important to create a welcoming environment for everyone who uses the facility.
"The Wonnarua stories in the arbour design will create a connection between the community and our health facility by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and creating a welcoming environment for all patients, visitors and staff," Mr DiRienzo said.
Saretta said bringing the arbour to life with the design has been a collaborative process with Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council, Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation, the broader community and the new Maitland Hospital Development Project Team.
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