video shares story of ABORIGINAL artefacts

A collection of 8,000 year old hearth stones have been carefully preserved and are on display in the public forecourt of the Prince of Wales Hospital Acute Services Building at Randwick, celebrating and honouring the unique cultural heritage of the site.  
The historic hearth stones are one of two sets uncovered by archaeologists in the 1990s and during excavations for the new hospital in 2019, in one of the most significant excavations in NSW Health history.  
The stones symbolise welcoming, healing and shared knowledge, and have been installed at the entrance to the new Acute Services Building as part of a permanent curated display and gathering place for patients, staff and visitors.
The return of the stones to site was made possible through the support of the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and Gujaga Foundation, in partnership with Health Infrastructure, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and South Eastern Sydney Local Health District.

Video credit: Magpie Creative Australia

The La Perouse Aboriginal Community has a proud and globally significant history as the oldest discrete Aboriginal Community in Sydney. Recognising the significance of the community’s continued connection to Country, the Randwick Campus Redevelopment team partnered with the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and Gujaga Foundation to return the stones to the site.

Prince of Wales Hospital General Manager Jennie Barry said the partnership was essential in ensuring the preservation of the stones and the enduring recognition for generations to come.

The beautifully curated display features local Aboriginal language and tells the story of their traditional use, while also providing a space for staff, patients and hospital visitors to engage, learn, experience and reflect on the cultural heritage of the site.  

La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Chris Ingrey said he was proud to have been involved in curation of the hearth stones display, after his father was part of the original excavations.

“During the build of the new hospital, we worked closely with Health Infrastructure and others involved in the project to ensure our people’s heritage was embedded and promoted, in a way that all Australians would appreciate,” Mr Ingrey said.

Published February 2024