Paving the way for Indigenous education

Project QuickStats

Location Karabar, New South Wales
Cost $32,489.92
Stone Colour Tan Pebble
Total Area 173 square meters
Date Installed 04-12-2020

November 2020 saw the observance of NAIDOC week, organised by the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.

As well as a celebration of indigenous cultures, the event serves to drive indigenous issues forward into legislation.

We take a look at the landscaping design at this school just out of Canberra. Curated with a natural loose stone appearance, StoneSet resin bound pebble was the perfect balance between authenticity and practicality.

Environmental paving

Australia has seen significant progress toward recognition of the traditional land owners. However education institutions are being urged to do more, by incorporating indigenous teaching methods into the school curriculum.

Uncle Wade Man was one aboriginal elder campaigning for increased integration of indigenous education during NAIDOC week.

“Our culture is about us being strong, being connected, connected to the land, being connected to the trees, being connected to the stars..” – Aboriginal Elder Uncle Wade Man

This sentiment was one of the driving factors for StoneSet being installed at Tirriwirri School (Queanbeyan SSP – School of Special Purpose). In particular, planter beds to grow bush tucker and a custom designed natural stone ‘Yarning circle’ was a perfect way for students to feel connected to the natural environment when learning about indigenous culture.

This traditional ‘yarning circle’ is designed to inspire an indigenous connection between community and environment

porous paving ‘fit for purpose’

The Tirriwirri School of special purpose has been in construction most of 2020. The NSW K-12 school will cater for a relatively small sized student body, yet its build is designed for a large range of accessibility requirements.

Innovative building materials like StoneSet porous paving were critical throughout the project, to deliver authentic natural landscaping, whilst meeting non-slip safety requirements.

Framing the horticultural planter beds, crushed stone paving like decomposed granite was ruled out. Aside from looking common, loose stone posed a serious risk to safety given the range of mobility of students expected to attend the school. 

Other loose stone pathway options were ruled out given the potential for puddles to build and consequent erosion over time. The porous pathways around the garden beds meant water from irrigation or accidental spills would not form puddles, nor enable algal growth which are both significant longer term slip hazards with non porous paving. 

Porous Paving ‘Yarning’ Circle

Paving the uniquely themed ‘yarning circle’ with StoneSet’s natural Tan resin bound stone delivered on multiple outcomes.

Framing a beautiful large existing gum tree, porous paving was ideal to maintain ground water penetration. This of course supported the surrounding vegetation including this large tree’s health. Generous water penetration encourages a full development of its leaf canopy and simultaneously reduces risk of deadfall branches.

The Tan stone specified was a rounded pebble, meaning no sharp edges or corners. Much the same as pebblecrete, the surface is smooth to the touch and far less abrasive on the skin for those occasional falls children inevitably experience.

Finally, StoneSet porous paving consists of actual Australian stone. Paying respects to an aboriginal garden that originally existed on the eastern side of the site, the earthy brown colour was authentic indigenous choice, there is no artificial pigmentation of the paving!

StoneSet binds real stone that is set to retain its mineral character without fear of fading and brittleness that can come with other kiln fired paving alternatives.

Authentic Natural Stone

Having paved many colonial era heritage sites, StoneSet was particularly pleased to be involved in such a progressive development.

All up, applying StoneSet to these areas involved a 3 day install, covering 173 square meters of resin bound stone giving the exposed aggregate look, at an average depth of 25mm.

Unique in its dual purpose of enabling outdoor learning for all children and growing the awareness of the environmental complexity of indigenous culture, StoneSet was a great choice to optimise safety and environmental authenticity.