Forbes Hospital's Wiradjuri signage wins Western NSW Western Health District award

A project to integrate Wiradjuri language signage and translations into the new Forbes and Parkes Hospitals has won one of the Western NSW Local Health District’s top awards.

Lachlan Health Service’s ‘Mali Marambir Ngurang: to make better place Lachlan’ has won the Chief Executive’s Award at the Western NSW Local Health District’s annual Living Well Together Health and Innovation Awards.

More than 50 projects were received for the awards, which is a record number of entries.

The Lachlan Health Service project team accepted the Chief Executive’s Award during a gala dinner in Orange at the end of May.

The project also received a highly commended in the Closing the Gap in Aboriginal Health Disadvantage category.

Key directional signage around the hospitals is written in English beside the Wiradjuri interpretation, which is then translated back into English.

Local Wiradjuri people, including Forbes Aboriginal and Community Working Party chair David Acheson and Wiradjuri Council of Elders Parkes chair Robert Clegg, worked closely with Dr Stan Grant, co-author of the Wiradjuri dictionary, to ensure the words were correct and close to their English meaning.

“It explains everything in our way of speaking and converts pretty easily to English,” Mr Clegg said.

The project aimed to make the hospital spaces more inviting and less daunting for Aboriginal people.

“They like it, they think it’s great,” Mr Clegg said.

“It brings them into the hospital and makes it more friendly.

“We didn’t set out to [win an award], we set out to help the community, so was a big bonus. It gives recognition, not just to us but everyone in the community.”

The English translations also help to educate non-Wiradjuri people about the Wiradjuri language. For example, the Wiradjuri words Marrin Mumali (to rub the body between the hands) points to the physiotherapy department, Mungarr Ngadhurinya (care for kidneys) is the renal department.

More than 20 key places in the hospitals have bilingual interpretation. Others include Ngaagigu Mulunma, (to see inside) for medical imaging; Ngurang Mindyali (to be fixed fast) are the words for operating theatre; Waluwin Ngaan (healthy mouth) points the way to oral health; and Wambuwanbunmaldhaany (medicine maker) is the pharmacist.

The signage has been informed by the Lachlan Health Service Culture and Arts Working Group. A component of the $113.7 million to redevelop the Forbes Hospital and build a new Parkes Hospital was used to help deliver the Lachlan Health Service Culture and Arts program.