Banatjarl Women and Centre
The Banatjarl Women's Council was formed in 2003 in response to Jawoyn women's call for a focus on family, women and healing.
Since then, the council has been working toward their goal of establishing a family and healing centre. They have identified the Banatjarl area in King Valley as a place for their dreams to come to fruition.
They have also renamed the council 'Banatjarl Strongbala Wumin Grup' - a Kriol name that recognises the council as a group of Indigenous women from many different language areas but who all share the language of Kriol.
To make our people and culture strong. A family healing place that makes culture strong. A strong cultural place that heals families.
The Banatjarl Family Resource and Healing Centre
Jawoyn women want to see cultural regeneration, family support, reduction of violence, aged and youth programs. The Banatjarl Family Resource and Healing Centre is being set up to provide a place to:
- Pass on and strengthen culture
- Offer training and support programs to break the cycles of violence and substance dependency
- Provide respite for Jawoyn elders and a space for them to pass on knowledge
- Disseminate bush medicine and tucker information and programs
- Offer youth, offender and school holiday programs
- Hold an annual "talkfest" to provide an opportunity to exchange information, clarify priorities and collection information regarding the needs of women
- Cross-cultural training - offer to non-Indigenous people working in Aboriginal communities.
- Offer public space for conference and meetings
The centre is located at the Banatjarl property, about 40 kilometres south of Katherine. It covers an area of about 120 square kilometres and is an area of cultural significance to Jawoyn women.
Formerly a pastoral property King Valley Station, it contains three bungalows, a large shed, a newly built transition house, a children's playground and a generator shed. It is not intended to be developed as a living area for permanent occupation but to provide facilities for use by Aboriginal people in the Katherine region.
As plans for Banatjarl are developed, we are working toward a number of initiatives:
- Young women’s learning program to pass on Jawoyn women’s knowledge and skills and train future healers
- Healing program for women and children with a focus on domestic violence
- Respite for elders - a site where elders can spend time on country and use their knowledge to teach and train others
- Develop a bush medicine and tucker garden and nursery to make bush medicines for family and others to use/purchase
- Construct a medicine treatment area (sauna) to treat women and to share with visitors during the Barunga Festival
- Cross cultural training
- Annual talkfest and women's advocacy and networking activities
- Upgrade the large shed to provide a comfortable hub for programs and activities, meetings and conferences.
- Build additional/improved temporary accommodation to support extended camps/activities on Banatjarl.
- The Fred Hollows Foundation
- Sunrise Health Service
- Katherine Family Violence Support Service
- Women's Centres at Kalano, Beswick (Wugularr), Manyallaluk, Bulman.
- Roper Gulf Regional Shire