The Foundation on the frontline
“We are absolutely thrilled to officially open Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja. This major project has transformed what was previously a bare, grassed space with limited shade and seating into a world-class, healing nature-space. There is strong evidence that nature is a powerful healer in kids and adults alike, helping to improve wellbeing and assisting in boosting recovery rates, so it’s brilliant that WA patients and families now have a purpose-built space where they can be together outside of clinical settings, whilst still remaining close to care.”
Hon. Ian Campbell, Chairman Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation
About the Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja
Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja, a new $4 million nature-space at the QEII Medical Centre (QEIIMC) campus, is now officially open.
Located at the base of the Kids’ Bridge next to Perth Children’s Hospital, the upgraded nature-space provides much-needed respite for everyone – particularly frequent and long-term patients and families – as well as opportunities for play, learning and discovery.
Hospitals can be daunting, clinical environments and Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja will provide an escape from the pressures of medical treatment and appointments. Patients, their siblings and families will have a space to be together away from the hospital setting whilst remaining close to the care they require.
Sitting on Noongar land, Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja incorporates traditional and contemporary cultural themes and Dreamtime stories, creating a rich, experiential space to cultivate wellbeing. The name – Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja – was developed by Noongar cultural advisors, Soft Earth. In Noongar language, Waalbiirniny means ‘to heal’, Waabiny means ‘to play’ and Boodja means ‘on Country’.
The project, which took approximately six months to complete, was made possible thanks to funding from Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation and founding partner Rio Tinto, major supporter BIG W and CDI Group, BGIS, Hassell, Soft Earth.
Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja Project Design
The upgraded area is a natural extension of the award-winning Kids’ Bridge connecting Perth Children’s Hospital to the abundant nature of Kings Park. There is strong evidence that nature is a powerful healer in children and adults alike, with exposure improving wellbeing and assisting in recovery rates.
Featuring accessible play equipment and wide, flat accessible pathways throughout, Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja provides a rich, experiential space for play, recreation, relaxation, reflection, and respite that all users of the QEII Medical Centre (QEIIMC) campus can enjoy.
In addition, Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja showcases a diverse range of plants native to the Kings Park area including banksia and eucalyptus, as well as native shrubs, grasses, groundcovers, mallees, and flowering plants.
Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja Benefits
Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja Design Features
Drawing inspiration from the Traditional Owners, Waalbiirniny Waabiny Boodja is split into four zones appreciative of Noongar culture and the local habitat, including:
- Nature-space providing a sense of fun and normality away from the sterile hospital environment. Being able to escape the confines of hospital will help achieve a greater sense of wellbeing which is important for maintaining the psychological health of those dealing with childhood illness.
- Rest and relaxation space for patients, families, visitors and staff.
- A natural learning precinct offering educational opportunities on native flora, fauna and Noongar culture.
- Entertainment space for performers and/or outdoor events.
The design respects, restores and recognises the “healing energy of Country”. Noongar themes and storylines interwoven into the design have been developed through direct engagement with the history, stories and culture of the Traditional Owners.
Key features include a discovery path called Koodjal Noorn (two snakes), shelter pods honouring the six Noongar seasons, playground cubby referencing Noongar mia-mias, an interactive play wall incorporating tactile animal and plant totems and a climbing net depicting the web of the trapdoor spider, a unique Aboriginal story connected to King’s Park.
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