Prior to Europeans arriving in the Wagga area (Sturt was first in 1829), the current site of ErinEarth was a ‘white box grassy woodland’ on gently sloping country (“burba” is Wiradjuri for sloping country) with a river red gum forest on the river flats (“bila guungun gunigal” is Wiradjuri for river flood plain). The land has been loved and cared for, for thousands of years by Wiradjuri people and still is today.
As more and more Europeans arrived, the town of Wagga slowly grew and the land was cleared for agriculture. The Presentation Sisters, a Catholic religious order that began in Ireland, arrived in Wagga in 1874 and were given the land that Mt Erin is now on and where ErinEarth is situated. We acknowledge that this land has not been given by the Wiradjuri and that it still sits on Wiradjuri land.
This land was put to a variety of uses and in 1997, 2 bitumen tennis courts and a rubbish dump could be found on the site.
Around this time, two of the Presentation Sisters, Carmel Wallis and Kaye Bryan, were becoming concerned about the state of the global environment wanted to do something that was ‘ecologically just’. The ErinEarth parcel of land was given to them and they began, with the help of many volunteers, the task of restoring the site to as close as possible to its original native vegetation. Their intention was for it to be a centre for ‘ecological justice’. Justice is understood with the original meaning of ‘right relationship’. Ecological is concerned with the ‘web of life’.
Through determination, hard work, persistence and engagement with the local community, ErinEarth has transformed from a rubbish dump and two bitumen tennis courts into the beautiful garden it is today, serving as a resource for the local community.
ErinEarth still promotes ‘right relationship’ within the complex web connecting human beings with each other, plants, animals, air, water and soil, that culminate to form our home, Planet Earth.