Banatjarl, known as King Valley, has become a hive of activity in recent months as the Banatjarl Strongbala Wimun Grup revive their garden of bush foods, ramp up their plans to boost production of bush midijin and oversee the expansion and growth of the healing centre.
The boost in the group has been assisted with Jawoyn’s employment of coordinator Pip Gordon, whose introduction to the group has been supported by longtime Banatjarl supporters Maddy Bower and Boronia Saggers.
The women’s group is working to develop their long term vision for the Banatjarl Healing Centre and to grow the group and its activities.
It has been receiving a lot of renewed interest from new members to join the group, particularly young women and mothers.
A Bush Garden Revival & Maintenance Project kicked off in November and involved the women working closely with the Jawoyn Women Rangers and Top End Seeds’ Boronia Saggers to get the garden ready for the wet season.
The team worked hard, planting new seeds and seedlings, laying irrigation and removing unwanted weeds.
Many hands got into the garden, which is thriving with lots of new bush foods.
The healing centre is also receiving a revamp and upgrade, with a women’s shed being built to include an outdoor bush kitchen and shade area, made from local iron wood to fit in with its surrounds.
The new structures aim to offer visitors the opportunity to sit in the shade and take in all that the Banatjarl has to offer, whether it’s through cultural awareness workshops, women and girls camps, cultural tours, making bush midijin or a space to relax and be rejuvenated when caring for country.
The group was particularly excited to receive a $10,000 grant through the Federal Member for Lingiari Warren Snowden’s stronger communities program to help build the bush kitchen.
The group have been making bush midijin for a number of years now, drawing on traditional knowledge of healing and medicine handed down through the generations.
The bush midijin is made up of special plants and flowers, including Djirr – native lemon grass, Galk Galk – Eucalyptus and Marangmarang.
Each rabing midijin is hand made from plants grown in the bush garden and is processed carefully and intentionally under the guidance of elders
The women initially created the midijin so local families would have access to the healing balms, but they’ve proved so popular there is now a demand to increase production.
As the summer months approach, Banatjarl Strongbala Wimun Grup will begin to sell the bush midijin online through the Jawoyn website.