A peaceful place for everybody to come together and feel like family.

This is the vision for the park on the Nambucca River where ancestral Aboriginal bones were uncovered during construction for a new home.

The bones have been identified as those of a young man (14-16 years) dating back some 620 to 750 years.

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Elder and project Adviser Roger Jarrett says the project is incredibly symbolic of how far the community has come from the 'old days'.

As a child he was taken to the Kinchela Boys Home where, for the next six years, he was known as Number 12.

"Now people are starting to see what's going on and we're becoming one which is great because we can't keep going on the old way," Roger said

"So hopefully when everybody sees it, they'll love it."

The bones were unearthed in 2017 as Terrence and Joan Walker prepared to build their dream home on the site.

After years of negotiations the State Government agreed to purchase the 21 Riverside Drive property for $1.25million and plans began for the memorial park and the return of the bones.

 

Trevor Ballangarry, Shane Ballangarry, Christopher Donovan and Roger Jarrett behind the area where the bones were found and will eventually be re-buried and a large memorial stone placed.
Trevor Ballangarry, Shane Ballangarry, Christopher Donovan and Roger Jarrett behind the area where the bones were found and will eventually be re-buried and a large memorial stone placed.

Trevor Ballangarry says he can't speak more highly of the Walkers throughout the whole process.

"Personally they were put under a lot of pressure and I can't speak more highly of them."

He recognises the process has taken some time but it was important to get it right.

"We don't want to turn this into a circus."

As a symbol of this respect Terrence will be invited to the private re-burial ceremony.

The park will feature a large memorial stone to indicate the sacred nature of the site while incorporate landscaping and pathways to invite the community to come and enjoy the peaceful riverside location and enjoy the bush tucker.

Trevor says this will be in keeping with the site which was once a little like a 'restaurant'.

"It was a very popular midden that ran along the Nambucca River. It was a very communal place.

"People would come and have a rest, eat oysters and shell fish and catch crabs and get their fish - like a restaurant."

 

Nambucca Mayor Rhonda Hoban.
Nambucca Mayor Rhonda Hoban.

 

Nambucca Shire mayor, Rhonda Hoban visited the site this week to check on progress and chat with elders.

Currently she is working with the State Government to try and extend the boardwalk along the riverside to connect with the path leading towards the RSL.