Bathurst flags

Filed : Aboriginal Arts, Arts & Health, In Hospitals, Projects .

A new fleet of brightly coloured, hand-painted flags were unveiled at Bathurst Health Service in September.

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The new flags at the entrance to the Bathurst Health Service. These are now on show in an internal courtyard area of the hospital. Photo: Arts OutWest

Designed and painted by students at schools in the Bathurst area, around a dozen new Bali-style flags now bring extra vibrancy to the forecourt area of the Bathurst Health Service.

The flags were made during workshops, supported by AECG (Aboriginal Education Consultative Group), coordinated by Arts OutWest and delivered by educator and artist Peter Wilson, arts and health coordinator Christine McMillan and Arts OutWest volunteer Emily Devery.

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Teachers from Bathurst schools were invited to a professional development afternoon where they painted the 6M long bali style flags. After a day at work participants said they felt very relaxed after the painting of the flag and were looking forward to the workshops in their schools.

Talented public speakers from Kelso Public School year 6 provided inspiration for the design. They presented a talk based on: ‘Has the Australian Government recognised the Aboriginal service men and women during and/or after the war?’, which was taken from this year’s NAIDOC week theme.

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4 Workshops were presented at Kelso, Bathurst West and Bathurst Public Schools where 12 colourful flags were painted.

The flags were officially unfurled at the health service on 18th September 2014 during a special family focussed event. The morning event celebrated the work of the Building Strong Foundations (BSF) for Aboriginal Children, Families and Communities Implementation Committee, including presentation of prizes to the Building Strong Foundations Art Competition winners. Students at the event spoke about NAIDOC and this year’s theme ‘Serving Country’ and the crowd were entertained by Aboriginal dancers from West Bathurst Primary.

One of the guests at the event said with a smile, ‘It really looks like there is a celebration happening today’.

The colourful flags are the third batch that have been created for the health service through Arts OutWest activities; following those made by various community, school and multi-cultural groups soon after the opening of the new facility, and a collection made three years ago by people with disabilities.

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The flags are currently on permanent show in the outdoor forecourt area of Bathurst Health Service, just off the main public entry area.

The flags next outing will be to the finals of the State NAIDOC Public Speaking and Debating competition in Sydney at Parliament House in November 2014. There are plans to run the program in other schools across the state next year using the 2015 NAIDOC theme.

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