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Shirley John and Ron at Sacred Pole 16 July 2023 Zena Curwain Photography

Dear Editor –

Just prior to the Higher FunKtion Harbour Nights concert this evening, my friend and I encountered Elder Shirley John and her husband, Ron, at the Giche-Name Wiikwedong Reconciliation Garden.

I feel certain Shirley has a story to tell. Meanwhile, my account is as follows:

Approaching the garden, I recognised Shirley from the Earth Day events, and we introduced ourselves, explaining that we were in town for the Higher FunKtion concert.

The evening's project appeared to require small gardening implements.

As we chatted, Shirley explained that she has created a new Sacred Pole to replace the one that was removed by persons unknown; during the excavation process, a fragment of severed stake was discovered in situ.

My friend, Karen Poce, assisted in preparing the ground and progressed to the hammering-in installation; I documented in my usual fashion.

I am grateful to Shirley and Ron for their openness and grace.

These small instances of collaboration and understanding would not be possible without their generosity of spirit.

For the thieves, unconscious or otherwise, it is our hope that they receive a lesson in respect. 

Zena Curwain




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