Biggah Garden Project launched at Heritage Near Me event

A crowd of around 200 people gathered at Littleton Gardens on Friday afternoon for the opening of the Biggah Garden Project.

Colleen Dixon opened the event with a Welcome to Country, Lewis Campbell played didgeridoo and the Gulaga Dancers performed before opening the gardens with a smoking ceremony. 

The project was launched during the Heritage Near Me wrap up event, which concluded a week long celebration of places, people and items of historic significance in the Bega Valley. 

Heritage Near Me assistant program manager Colleen Klingberg said all the events aimed to show people that heritage is not just something in history books, it is always around is. 

There was a strong focus on digital storytelling during Heritage Week, with a virtual reality exhibition touring the region, and a coding class for young people. 

“The classes taught the kids that in the process of creating things with code, they were actually creating their own heritage,” Ms Klingberg said. 

The Gulaga Dancers at the opening of Biggah Gardens

Carol Dixon had her first virtual reality experience on Friday afternoon, and thought it was a fantastic form of storytelling. 

“It was just unreal, you feel like you’re there” she said. 

The virtual reality exhibition works through six heritage topics, including sheep shearing, early settlement and Dreamtime stories. 

“Some of it was a bit scary, and I thought I was going to come off my chair a few times, but I’ve got nephews and grandkids that would just love it,” Ms Dixon said. 

The next step for the Biggah Garden Project is to introduce interactive digital storytelling tools for people to learn about it’s heritage and significance.

Heritage Near Me program manager Christian Hampson is designing an augmented reality display that will bring the gardens to life through a smartphone lens. 

The project aims to educate people about native Australian plants and ceremonial Bunaan rings.

After the opening ceremony, NITV celebrity chef Mark Olive entertained the crowd with his knowledge of native foods and spices and gave a cooking demonstration.