College to install reflective garden

December 13, 2016

St Patrick’s College will install Ballarat’s first permanent monument in recognition of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse with the construction of a reflective garden at the front of the College.

The enclosed garden will be a permanent, visible and accessible monument that will forever stand as a symbol of the College’s deep remorse for the sexual abuse suffered by victims and survivors and their families at the hands of certain individuals historically associated with the College, as well as a strong symbol of solidarity and respect for their bravery.-

One of the key features of the reflective garden will be a lockable chest with a transparent front which will be the new home to the thousands of colourful ribbons collected at the College during the Loud Fence movement. There will be a design feature included to allow for new ribbons to be added to those already tied. These will be woven into a tapestry that will be on display in the chest.-

Headmaster Mr John Crowley said the College had worked closely with key members of the College community, including victims and survivors, to ensure the garden reflected the wishes of those it has been designed to recognise.

-We have worked very closely with victims and survivors from the outset, along with members of our current community, including Old Collegians, students, staff and parents, to ensure this monument will be an appropriate reflective space for all in Ballarat,- Mr Crowley said. -We anticipate that this garden will be complete in early 2017-.-

-St Patrick’s College is committed to further strengthening relationships with victims and survivors in the Ballarat community and we anticipate that this reflective garden will stand as a permanent and prominent monument.-

Mr Crowley said the College’s landscape designer, David Turley Landscape Architecture, will liaise with the City of Ballarat to ensure the design of the garden is compliant with all planning and heritage guidelines.

He said the construction of the garden would require a new gate being installed in the famous brick fence at the front of the College.

A small bluestone pathway will then lead to the garden which will include a reflective seat in front of the chest of ribbons and a water feature bordered by stained glass panels. Mr Crowley said the words to be inscribed on the pavement were still to be finalised, again through ongoing discussion with victims and survivors.-

He said great thought had been given towards ensuring the garden was open and accessible to all.

-The garden will be enclosed to enable privacy for all attendees- Mr Crowley said.

It is hoped the garden will commence construction in early 2017, depending on the timeline for approval through the Ballarat City Council.-