In Perth, a beautiful place for pausing and remembering
The nightly parade of news hour horrors shows no sign of abating any time soon.
Every day, hundreds of people in our communities suffer life-altering trauma or loss. Most times these are private events, shared only with the closest family and friends of those involved. Some, like the horrific attack on MH17, end up being shared with the entire world.
How do we as individuals, families and communities, find ways to make sense of such events?
During our recent trip to Perth we were lucky enough to spend time at a place established with exactly that purpose.
The Place of Reflection sits within the Western Australian Botanic Garden at Kings Park.
It was created specifically to be “a tranquil place of reflection that is both transformative and restorative; a landmark location where all people who have suffered loss or trauma can seek understanding, peace, healing, hope and renewal.”
The Place is accessed by a serpentine path branching off the main thoroughfares through the Botanic Garden. The path slows you down, giving time to adjust your mindset, and also to read the words of inspiration in the pavement.
The are small seating spots along the path, allowing one or two people to find a little spot for themselves.
Half way along the path is the elegant Marlee Pavilion. It hovers above a deck of recycled jarrah that gives way to panoramic views of the Swan River.
The roof over is encircled with delicate perforated panels of weathered steel – patterns inspired by a local eucalypt dance around the edges.
The path continues on to a smaller deck, framed by an embracing gateway screen of the same patterned steel.
The entire Place of Reflection sits within a contemporary bush garden. This nestles into the wider Botanic Garden, Kings Park and broader river landscape, and provides visitors with a strong sense of connection with nature and life beyond their private contemplation.
The Place of Reflection is beautiful, deeply restorative, and a generous community landmark.
The Place of Reflection was designed by Plan E.
It was instigated by a consortium of like-minded organisations including The Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS), Healing Hearts Foundation, SIDS and Kids WA, Soroptomist International of South Perth, and The Compassionate Friends.