A traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony marked the start of construction on Campbelltown's first public yarning circle today.
Local Aboriginal elder Uncle Ivan Wellington led the ceremony at Koshigaya Park, where the circle will be constructed as part of the Campbelltown 2020 program.
A yarning circle is a traditional space in Aboriginal culture where people can gather to share stories and ideas and build respectful relationships. The circle allows participants to preserve and pass on cultural knowledge.
Local Aboriginal elder Glenda Chalker delivered a welcome to country before the smoking ceremony.
"My old people would have sat and gathered right at this spot," she said.
Uncle Ivan and Auntie Glenda both took part in a sod-turning, alongside fellow Indigenous leaders and Campbelltown deputy mayor Meg Oates, following the conclusion of the smoking ceremony.
Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic said the circle was an important way to recognise the Indigenous history of the region.
"Through every step of preparing the design for this important cultural project, we have listened to the voices of Aboriginal people and honoured the remarkable heritage of our area," he said.
"This will be a meeting place for everyone to come and have a yarn as well as foster local understand about culture and its importance in our modern Campbelltown.
"When developing the Our Voice Our Place - Aboriginal Interpretation Strategy, we heard that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities wanted to see more Aboriginal perspectives in our public domain and this yarning circle will be an example of that."
Features of the Campbelltown 2020 Yarning Circle include artwork from local Aboriginal artists, a variety of bush tucker plants and accessible seating. Construction is expected to be complete by mid-December.
The project is jointly funded by the council and from the State Government's Stronger Communities Fund.