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World Labyrinth Day this Saturday

Blakeney Millar trustees Lorraine O’Sullivan and Louise Halsey, and Tumut Rotary’s Steve Jenkins, at the Labyrinth site in Rotary Pioneer Park.

The Blakeney Millar Foundation and the Rotary Club of Tumut are encouraging residents to check out the progress of the Community Labyrinth For Peace down in Pioneer Park this Saturday, as part of World Labyrinth Day.

Workers have been out on the labyrinth in force in these last remnants of sunny days, laying the Wee Jasper stone in a mathematical formation. Blakeney Millar trustee Louise Halsey has also been spotted next to the construction site, supplying the tradies with bacon and egg rolls and hot drinks to keep them going.

It’s the perfect time to catch up on the labyrinth’s progress too, with Pioneer Park currently ablaze with autumn colour. Two teams of pavers from Canberra and one team member from Tumut have been hard at work on the labyrinth’s construction, and the organisers are welcoming the community to come down and see what they’ve been up to – although from outside the barricade, of course.

The work is expected to be completed by mid-June, and Tumut Rotary’s Steve Jenkins said he hopes the community takes to the idea, although he understands it could take a while to be properly used.

“The primary purpose of a labyrinth is reflection,” he said.

“They’re used in many different contexts around the world, often in health situations. There are lots in hospitals in Europe, the United States and Australia.

“There’s one at Westmead, there’s one at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Austin…it’s basically about taking a holistic approach to health and welfare.

“It gives people a chance for meditation and reflection, which is a little difficult for people to get their heads around. It’s not like playground equipment – everyone knows what playground equipment is. This is a very different concept, and it’s going to take a little while for people to understand it and embrace it.”

The labyrinth will also serve a teaching function, with stations providing information about various aspects of the local area, including Aboriginal history and the explorations of Hume and Hovell.

The constellation design in the middle will mirror the constellation visible on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, and the labyrinth’s overall theme is commemorating both those who have served in battle, and those who have served in the community.

Blakeney Millar trustee Lorraine O’Sullivan said she’s looking forward to seeing the labyrinth being used.

“If you’ve got issues at home you can come down and walk it, and apparently by just walking it and letting your mind rest it helps you solve problems,” she said.

“Whether that’s executives in high powered jobs or staff who are just having a hard day at work…if you’ve got sickness in the family, depressive problems or if you have concerns, it’s suggested that labyrinths are good to just walk and practice what they call mindfulness. I think in our busy world that we live in today, that’s not a bad thing.

“And what a setting! With the beautiful river running right by it. It certainly will be a tourist attraction.”

“The other really, really great thing about the labyrinth is that it’s accessible for people using walking frames and on motorised scooters, wheelchairs, kids can ride their bikes through it – it’s just a great thing for the community.”

However, she did stress that the labyrinth is not a maze as many people think when they hear the term. It doesn’t have any walls or a puzzle element; it’s simply a place of quiet reflection.

“The one thing we will be stressing is that all users of the labyrinth must be respectful of others walking,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

She suggested using World Labyrinth Day, this Saturday, to head down to Pioneer Park, look up information on the benefits of labyrinths, and get excited for Tumut’s very own soon-to-be-completed design.