Six months have passed since the Western Australian Kimberley coast town of Bidyadanga welcomed Orange Sky and our bright orange laundry trailer into the community. We’re incredibly proud to be working alongside the community representative body, Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community La Grange Inc (BACLG Inc), to provide this service.

Bidyadanga is Orange Sky’s fifth remote service, but the laundry trailer is the first of its kind; a solar-powered laundry system on a bright orange trailer. Powered by Bidyadanga’s 300+ days of sun and REDARC batteries, the trailer is fitted with three washers, three Waru dryers, and six orange chairs.

As a result of social, economic and geographic factors, laundry access can be challenging in Bidyadanga. Veronica Yanawana (VY), is a Bidyadanga resident and employee on the laundry trailer. On ABC Kimberley’s Saturday Breakfast with Eddie Williams, VY shared how she connects with her community whilst helping with their washing.

“Some people don’t have a washing machine at home, which makes it very hard,” she said.

VY also recognises the health and wellbeing factors associated with the services; “Clean clothes make you feel proud and happy.”

Bidyadanga is located in the northwest reaches of the Kimberleys, home to a population of 850 residents including Karajarri, Traditional Owners. The namesake of the coastal region translates locally to ‘emu watering hole’. In the early-mid 1900s, the region established a station and mission. This developed the community seen today, with residents from five language groups; Karajarri, Juwalinny, Mangala, Nyungamarta and Yulpartja. 

The Orange Sky service kicked off at the beginning of the wet season, when it can be particularly challenging to keep clothes and bedding, dry and clean. Since launching, VY and the Bidyadanga team have provided 940 loads of washing and 861 hours of connection across 80 shifts. The engagement in the service continues, with the team continuing to wash 10-20 loads of washing each day! 

Community Programs Officer in Bidyadanga, Ingrid Elmitt believes the laundry service provides “holistic value to the community,” including social and emotional wellbeing, environmental health, conversations with residents and improving people’s access to other family hub services.

“It’s not just about the clothes, it’s what it brings to the community.”

Orange Sky is grateful to work alongside the Bidyadanga community and our service partner BACLG Inc, in providing access to laundry facilities and non-judgmental yarns.

VY and Ingrid chatted with ABC Kimberley’s Eddie Williams on Saturday Breakfast about the laundry service in Bidyadanga and its impact in the community.