New Oakdale mural helps with healing

Community healing: The new mural at Oakdale is a way to help the community recover from the devastating 2019/20 Green Wattle Creek bushfires. Picture: Simon Bennett
Community healing: The new mural at Oakdale is a way to help the community recover from the devastating 2019/20 Green Wattle Creek bushfires. Picture: Simon Bennett

Even when the sky is grey, Oakdale will be full of sunshine.

The village is now home to a brand new piece of public art, and it's spreading sunshine to residents and visitors.

Members of the community helped to create a stunning mural on the back wall of a local block of shops on the corner of Blattman Avenue and Burragorang Road last week.

The mural - a collaboration between Wildflower Holistic Services, Murals for Change, Wollondilly Council and the South Western Sydney Primary Health Network - was designed to aid community healing after the 2019/20 bushfires which ravages parts of the shire.

Alexandra McCarthy from Wildflower said about 60 or 70 people took part in the mural creation throughout the week.

"Specifically on Wednesday, when we put the call out for community participation, we had about 50 people show up," she said.

"We had to go out and buy more paintbrushes. It was a good problem to have.

"The event really allowed for a lot of individuals to have conversations and connect with others in a non-confrontational way, sharing their stories and the impact that the bushfires had on them.

"This mural allowed people to come together."

Community healing: The new mural at Oakdale is a way to help the community recover from the devastating 2019/20 Green Wattle Creek bushfires. Picture: Simon Bennett

Community healing: The new mural at Oakdale is a way to help the community recover from the devastating 2019/20 Green Wattle Creek bushfires. Picture: Simon Bennett

Ms McCarthy said a lot of thought and consideration went into the design of the mural, which features a sunflower (acting as the sun) shining its rays over a growing garden, in colours of yellow, brown and green.

It also features the words 'Grow Together'.

"We discussed the themes of what the community was looking for and what we had been experiencing from that hardship," Ms McCarthy.

"It is about moving forwards and coming together, regeneration, helping one another and reaching out for support.

"Then there's growth, within ourselves and within the community, and in nature too.

"The design team and I collectively went back and forth on a few different concepts, but we finally settled on 'grow together' and the rest is history."

Ms McCarthy said Wollondilly Council was wonderful in helping secure the location for the mural.

She said it was a great spot, directly opposite Oakdale Primary School and close to the local church.

"I'd've loved to have seen all the kids' faces and their family's faces at the morning drop off when they first saw the mural after the school holidays," she said.

"It's a huge mural and it would have made their day."

Ms McCarthy said she was grateful to the Primary Health Network for providing the funding and supporting the project.

This story New Oakdale mural helps with healing first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.