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.
Orange Sky Australia • 2020 • 17 Dover Street, Albion Queensland 4010 • (07) 3067 5800 • ABN/Charity ID: 85890622990 • We are a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) All donations over $2 are fully tax deductible as a Deductible Gift Recipient by the Australian Tax Office
Orange Sky acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional custodians of the land across Australia. We pay our respect to Ancestors and their descendants who hold a continued cultural and spiritual connection to the land, seas and community and would like to recognise and uphold Indigenous knowledges and contributions of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We are committed to working together to create a positive future through our Reconciliation Action Plan.