The Banatjarl Strongbala Wimun Grup promotes cultural wellbeing, healing and sharing.
Our vision is to create positive change for women, families and communities on Jawoyn country.
We want to live in a world where our culture is respected and our knowledge is recognised and valued. We have a voice, we speak with pride and we listen deeply to one another. We use our collective skills, diverse traditions and knowledge to lead and support young people and families to grow strong, proud, confident, happy and healthy.
The name Strongbala Wimun Grup is Kriol language for “strong women’s group”.
It has grown through our elders’ work and our desire to provide more holistic support for women, children and families, to promote cultural connection and wellbeing, and to empower women’s voices, leadership and enterprise.
The word ‘Banatjarl’ comes from the homelands where our group resides. Also known as King Valley, Banatjarl is a place of cultural significance for Jawoyn people. It is close to women’s sacred mermaid dreaming.
Banatajarl has always been, and continues to be, a place where women come together on country to connect, share culture and learn from elders. It’s a place to heal and grow, a place where grandmothers, aunties, mothers, sisters and daughters find sanctuary and strength.
OUR HOME, OUR CENTRE
The Family Healing and Resource Centre at Banatjarl is a place that supports our cultural work, activities and enterprise. It builds on our elder’s long-held vision for a space where knowledge and skills are shared.
The centre is home to our culture camps and cultural education and awareness programs we run, and where we hold yarning circles and workshops, and take visitors on bush tours.
It’s where we nurture many special plants in our ever-growing bush garden, where we make our special bush medijin balms and products, and where we teach and share information about health and nutrition through good bush tucker.
Jawoyn culture is a living culture. It’s everything - our country, knowledge, languages, customs, identity, history and law. It’s how we work together with strong leadership for our land and people.
Getting out on country helps us to reconnect to our spiritual home, our culture and one another. It supports traditional, cultural responses to the challenges and disadvantages our communities face. We feel our connections across country and with families down the rivers.
We work together to collaborate in the region, knowing that together we are stronger. We teach language and culture at local schools and support the Learning on Country program. We love sharing our culture with people from all walks of life, from different communities and from other places across Australia and overseas.
Our elders’ dream of sharing healing has grown from a seed to reality since 2012, when we established a garden to grow plants for bush tucker and traditional medicines and ceremony.
We have collected seeds, cuttings and saplings from many traditional plants around Jawoyn country and have been harvesting the plants for food and medijin ever since.
Not only is the garden a wonderful source of produce, it supports cultural healing and the transfer of important knowledge and traditions, and it helps to teach about the importance of plants for nutrition, health and wellbeing.
The garden is a living example of the strength of our group and our resolve to keep our culture and traditions alive.
For tens of thousands of years our ancestors used native plants for medicinal and healing purposes.
Drawing on this traditional healing knowledge, we wild harvest and collect plants with care and transform them into handcrafted balms with love, driven by a deep desire to share our special remedies from the bush to help heal and refresh the mind, body and spirit.
Our wish is for our bush medijin to be available to everyone. We hope one day western research will show the positive health benefits of our bush medijin.
Banatjarl Traditional Bush Medijin is a sustainable, independent enterprise that elevates women, community and culture.
We continue to explore making new medijin products, which in turn creates opportunities for more enterprise and meaningful work.