A smoking ceremony was held on the grounds of Cumberland Hospital last week to celebrate collaboration between mental health staff and the Aboriginal communities of Western Sydney.
The ceremony also marked the first stage of construction on the west side of the campus including the refurbishment of four patient cottages, a staff cottage, new pavilion and a new 20-bed sub-acute mental health inpatient unit.
Cumberland Hospital Aboriginal liaison officer Shai Grigg said the smoking ceremony symbolises a cleaning of the air to remove any bad spirits and energy in order to welcome the start of construction.
“Our mental health staff have also been working closely with Aboriginal elders from Emerton to improve the cultural safety for Aboriginal consumers, carers, visitors and staff to our mental health service,” Shai said.
Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) chief executive Graeme Loy mental health staff, consumers, NSW Health Infrastructure, Donnelley Construction builders and WSLHD staff watched the smoking ceremony performed by Gumeroy Newman and Lisa.
The smoking ceremony included a demonstration of Aboriginal dance allowing everyone to be included in this celebration of Aboriginal culture.
Cumberland Hospital is part of the Westmead Precinct, which is one of the largest health, education, research and training precincts in Australia.
Spanning 75 hectares, the precinct comprises over 400,000m2 of high-end health-related developments, including three major hospitals, four world-leading medical research institutes, two university campuses and the largest research intensive pathology service in NSW.
For further information about the Westmead Precinct, visit: www.westmeadproject.health.nsw.gov.au/precinct/westmead-precinct