Community stories: 26 April 2023
A modest $4,700 grant from The Yulgilbar Foundation Fund program has helped a community group transport a 215 kg ceremonial stone to Susan Island in October 2021 by a local builder who contracted a truck, forklift, excavator and barge. The excavator carried the stone to the gathering place, where a concrete footing had been laid by volunteers who supervised the process, and helped to manoeuvre the stone into place on the footing.
Four benches were purchased in November 2021. They are solid hardwood benches with galvanised fittings, each weighing about 80 kg. The benches were transported to the island in June 2022 by volunteers in a private boat. They were installed in deep holes on concrete footings, with cross-bolts added to keep them in place during floods. The installation was carried out by volunteers.
Native food, dye, medicinal and fibre plantings were carried out in August 2021, and May 2022. The plantings included Lilly Pilly, Red Kamala, Lomandra, Red Bean, Creek Sandpaper Fig, Red Ash, Moreton Bay Fig, Black Bean and Wattle (Acacia fimbriata). Planting was done by volunteers, and the trees were supplied as a contribution from the Susan Island Board. Around 250 trees, groundcovers and understory shrubs were planted between July 2021 and June 2022. Volunteers created a network of walking paths from the boat landing to the gathering place, passing through newly planted areas onto regenerating areas downstream.
“We have been trying to establish the gathering place since 2018, when the women’s group designed the stone. Finding a way to transport this 215 kg stone to the island was very problematic. We discussed ideas ranging from a helicopter with sling to elaborate pulley systems off small boats, but without money we couldn’t do anything. The funding let us focus our efforts, and we ended up asking a local builder to organise the logistics, which he did successfully. Without the funding, none of this could have happened. We thank you. It is really a lovely place now.”