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Derby Hospital unveils new flagpoles, art by Anna Yoomarie depicting significance of boab tree

Staff reportersBroome Advertiser
Art depicting the Kimberley lalgardi, or boab tree, created by Kimberley artist Anna Yoomarie.
Camera IconArt depicting the Kimberley lalgardi, or boab tree, created by Kimberley artist Anna Yoomarie. Credit: WA Country Health Service

Permanent reminders of the Kimberley’s proud Indigenous culture and history are now on full display at Derby Hospital with the installation of Aboriginal art and permanent flagpoles.

Three new flagpoles will proudly display the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian flags outside the hospital’s emergency department, while a 28-piece art installation, custom-made by well-known Kimberley artist Anna Yoomarie has been installed along the exterior walls and interior windows of the health hub, depicting the Kimberley lalgardi, or boab tree.

The lalgardi is central to local culture as a place to meet for shelter and safety, as well as an abundant food source. Lalgardi nuts are often carved into artworks.

The two installations are the result of collaboration between artists from the Norval Art Gallery, local community members and the WA Country Health Service staff to create a culturally safe and welcoming space.

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Staff and community members came together in a flag-raising ceremony to recognise the cultural step, with the support of longstanding employees and respected community members Craig Hunter, Joyce Cox and Tugiri Niki, who each raised a flag at the event ahead of the holidays.

WACHS Kimberley regional director Rex O’Rourke said the two projects reinforce the local health team’s commitment to their community.

“I’m proud of our Derby team who work every day to deliver the best possible health care on country and close to home,” he said.

“Our local Aboriginal history should be celebrated and acknowledged. Installing these flags and artwork permanently is just one way we’re aiming to make our hospital culturally welcoming for all.

“As well as representing local stories and culture, the new artwork is also a fantastic example of what can be achieved with real community collaboration.”

The installation of the artwork panels marks the final stage of the $3.7 million redevelopment of the Derby Community Health Service, which includes two consult rooms, an immunisation clinic room for adult and child immunisations, a child health clinic room, along with a multipurpose training and therapy room that provides space for allied health professionals to treat clients onsite.

The facility began welcoming clients in December 2021 and was officially opened in July 2022.

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