Men's Shed connects with Aboriginal people with smoking ceremony

BALLARAT East Community Men’s Shed has connected with Aboriginal people in a traditional ceremony.

Uncle Bryon Powell performs the smoking ceremony. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

Uncle Bryon Powell performs the smoking ceremony. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

A mural painted by Wadawurrung aunty Dianna Nikkelson earlier this month was blessed in a smoking ceremony.

Dozens of shed members have since placed their handprint on the artwork which features a lizard and a platypus.

“The platypus is the symbol of our hub. The black lines represent the other sheds in the region,” shed member John Eagle said.

“We get a lot out of it because we look after each other’s health. Everything is for the blokes.

“We wanted to represent the indigenous people.” 

Wadawurrung elder Bryon Powell led the ceremony with a wooden bowl filled with smoking eucalyptus leaves and cherry ballart.

He encouraged each member of the shed to inhale the smoke before blessing the mural.

“The smoking is a ceremony that has been practised for thousands of years. It makes what is invisible, visible,” Mr Powell said. 

“It cleanses the mind, body and place.” 

Shed president Doug Jenkins said the Ballarat East shed had about 150 members.

“There is over 1000 sheds in Australia.

“They are more about working together and sharing problems and issues of the mental, physical and social,” Mr Jenkins said.

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