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For the first time hundreds of newborns born at Mater hospitals across Queensland, like tiny identical twin sisters Emma and Sophia, will be gifted specially designed swaddles featuring Aboriginal artwork during National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June).
The soft cotton symbolic swaddles will be gifted to families to further strengthen Mater’s relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and continue to build respect for their culture, history and knowledge.
Queensland artist and Wakka Wakka man David Williams created the artwork for Mater to tell the story of the healthcare organisation’s history and commitment to reconciliation.
Now the artwork, entitled The Heart to Heal, the Strength to Grow, has been used to create a keepsake for the next generation.
Brighton parents Bevan and Mary welcomed their identical twin girls Emma and Sophia seven weeks early at Mater Mothers’ Hospital in South Brisbane and said the swaddles were a beautiful gift that would be cherished forever.
“The designs are really great,” Bevan said.
Forest Lake parents Skye, 27, and Daniel, 26, also welcomed their identical twin girls Amethyst (2.06kg) and Luna (2.1kg) seven weeks early and described the swaddles as a “celebration” of their newborn baby girls.
First-time dad Daniel, who identifies as Torres Strait Islander, said the swaddles were vibrant and meaningful.
“Fatherhood so far has been unreal and to be given a gift for both the girls that is so rich in history is really special,” he said.
Mater Reconciliation Action Plan Program Manager Jo Jones said: “Elders within the community have said the gift of the swaddles is Mater showing reconciliation to our First Nations people, closing the gap for us with all nationalities”.
Ms Jones said the unique swaddles signified Mater’s culturally safe environment.
“The swaddle is another element of visual artwork sharing Mater’s history and expressing to the community that our door is open, everyone is welcome, and no one gets left behind,” she said.
Ms Jones said Mater’s spirit was strong and “continues to thrive as we embrace those who we must always care for”.
“Wrap your beloved babies, let them feel safe and secure,” she said.
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