Community project to revive Albany cultural site in memory of Paddy Coyne

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Karen Herlihy and Ashleigh Woods with Albany Aboriginal Corporation chairman Lester Coyne.
Camera IconKaren Herlihy and Ashleigh Woods with Albany Aboriginal Corporation chairman Lester Coyne. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

A significant Noongar site dedicated to the memory of Paddy Coyne will be rejuvenated in a new community project backed by nearly $30,000 of State Government funding.

Albany Aboriginal Corporation was one of 10 not-for-profit groups across the State to receive a share of $200,000 last week to preserve registered Aboriginal sites in their regions.

The community-led organisation secured $29,825 to turn an overgrown and underused site, once home to Paddy Coyne’s camp, into a bush oasis.

The bush site, near the Paddy Coyne Complex off Serpentine Road, was once a place of refuge and safety for Noongar people who were welcomed by “Uncle Pat”.

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He offered shelter to people facing homelessness or hardship at the site, which is still remembered as a significant cultural meeting place today, according to Albany Aboriginal Corporation chairman Lester Coyne.

“Uncle Pat Coyne had an army tent in there he used to help a lot of people out of destitute,” he said. “We have dedicated that site to Paddy Coyne.”

Mr Coyne said volunteers would work over the next six months to create a living memorial for Uncle Pat and ensure the bush area could be used by the entire community.

“It’s a place that is well frequented now, but for the wrong reasons to dump rubbish, smash bottles and (littered with) broken glass and old furniture and all sorts of things, so we want to take all of that away,” he said.

“There are so many plants that are worthy of recognition, but right now we can’t see them through weeds and rubbish.

“We want to keep it alive, keep it neat and tidy and ... that his efforts are going to be matched by ours, we can clean it up and make it safe and accessible to everybody.”

The group plans to remove Sydney golden wattle, an invasive species, which has spread in the area.

Members will also build a pathway through the bush site to the Albany Aboriginal Corporation building and install signs explaining the native flora and fauna and the history of the area recognising Paddy Coyne’s contributions.

“This was a comfort site, it provided safety and security for people, and we want to revisit that and make it a comfort site from a visual perspective and from a mental health perspective too,” Mr Coyne said.

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