Garden for Forgotten People began at a women's correctional centre in
Sydney. Developed in collaboration with inmates from a range of cultures.
Unity Garden, Dillwynia cc
By Dale Kift,
Probation and Parole Officer
The Unity Garden at Dillwynia Correctional Centre is beginning to
take shape, as a living thing it will grow and change over the coming
The idea for a contemporary and symbolic garden began in 1997 when
Elizabeth Day, a Creative Arts Teacher based at Long Bay had an idea
for a garden at the Industrial Training Centre (ITC).
The idea for a garden at Long Bay had to be placed on hold as the
original site was targeted for re-development. Luckily, some years
later, Luke Grant, Senior Assistant Commissioner Inmate Services, approved
the commence-ment of another garden project at the Dillwynia Correctional
Marilyn Wright, General Manager, Dillwynia CC, suggested a site and
the name “Unity Garden”, signifying the bringing together
of cultures. The idea of a Unity Garden would be keeping with the original
concept of Dillwynia. Ms Wright was quick to see an opportunity to
engage offenders in a group activity that would enhance their environment
and leave a legacy for the women who would later arrive at Dillwynia.
Elizabeth Day designed a garden of interconnecting and intersecting
pathways, culminating in a “Celtic knot” design, to allow
for a variety of garden spaces to be developed. In this way, themes
of unity and distinctness of identity characterised the garden. As
Elizabeth saw it, “[The garden] was a place where cultures could
meet and connect and learn from each other, where cultures could be
unified in a project that recognised cultural differences.”
Currently the garden comprises a central frangipani emblem, a traditional
Fijian icon, planted with yellow day lillies, with pink and white-coloured
lilies at the centre and surrounded by gardenias, roses, birds of paradise
and sunflowers. Vietnamese and Chinese women have planted their traditional
vegetables and Aboriginal women have incorporated a rainbow serpent,
a turtle and a goanna in dot art patterns of small, light-coloured
pebbles and miniature succulents.
The pathways running through the garden are reminiscent of animal
tracks which Elizabeth described as “recording the past and looking
to the future”.
By channelling the expressive physical energy of the women at Dillwynia
a beautiful garden has been created that is available for the wider
group to share.