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Jan Stewart

It was an unexpected honour to be invited by the members of the Consortium, who worked so hard to make the Place of Reflection a reality, to become their Patron. 

In my former role as CEO of Lotterywest, I was closely involved from the early days of this project, when it was still only a dream held by several of the members. 

Quite independently, each had come to believe that our community needed a special place, not a church, not a cemetery or a memorial, but a place where people who have suffered loss of any kind could find peace and solace in the beauty of nature. 

The members of the Consortium and the groups they represented were touched in various ways by loss – the death of loved ones, sometimes where the body was irretrievable, was buried overseas or never found in the case of a missing person, or the loss of a child who died before being born. For some members the loss might be of their home or country – a place to which they could never return. For others it might be the loss of health or the loss of hope. 

This was a concept that moved me deeply – not only professionally through my work experiences over many years with those with mental illness and with families at Princess Margaret Hospital, and later through my work with community organisations at Lotterywest, but also through personal experience of the loss of a beloved son when he was only 13. I understood the importance of all of us finding somewhere to take our grief and loss where comfort and healing could be found.

From the first approaches with this idea, the team in the Grants Department at Lotterywest worked for many years with the members of the Consortium, who came together with the support and encouragement of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, to plan and design, and to find the funds to build the Place of Reflection.

We are all grateful to the Board and Senior Management of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority for making the land available for the Place of Reflection at Kings Park – a unique gift to the people of Western Australia. We are grateful also to designer David Smith for his sensitive interpretation of the brief and believe the result, which has won international awards, speaks for itself.

The Place of Reflection was opened by the Premier in 2011 with a most moving ceremony, which included those present tying fabric in the style of Buddhist prayer flags along the path leading to the entrance. Each piece of fabric represented a prayer or message for a loved one, or was used to represent another kind of loss. The Place has been blessed by the energy and hopes of all those who have used it since.

The Place of Reflection is a place that can mean whatever it needs to mean to those using it – it is not a memorial garden, although those using it will of course bring their memories to it. It is simply a place in which I hope those who need it can find peace.

Jan Stewart
"I sat on the seat with my husband and cried, letting myself acknowledge long-held grief. I felt engulfed by warmth, held and protected…"

A daughter remembering her parents

"The Place of Reflection is unique… The view from its location on the scarp of Kings Park is simply magnificent, and the design of the place itself blends beautifully with the natural bush surroundings… What a lovely, peaceful place to go to remember a loved one."

Tuart Place staff member

"A place of peace, calmness, beauty, tranquillity and freedom - I felt like I was in a space where I didn’t have to think about anything. I could reflect or meditate or just enjoy."

Perth Home Care Services staff member

"My friend and I come here together. We sit on the bench, two widows sharing our memories of our partners."

Place of Reflection visitor

"The discreet location amongst nature with such a superb outlook enables individuals and groups to reflect and heal without judgement."

King Edward Memorial Hospital, Grief & Loss Council member

"We really appreciate the sense of peace and serenity that settles on us when we are there."

Adoption Jigsaw staff member

"We can share this place with those needing a quiet time, somewhere to sit quietly or grieve... a place with nature, somewhere they might find peace, calmness, even closure."

Mareena Purslowe & Associates staff member

"We can share this 'A place of complete peace to just reflect and let your worries in the world go. And a place to reflect on the loved ones lost in your life and to honour them.' With those needing a quiet time, somewhere to sit quietly or grieve... a place with nature, somewhere they might find peace, calmness, even closure."

Anglicare staff member

"We really could not have had a more ambient or beautiful setting."

Cystic Fibrosis WA staff member

"The Place of Reflection is an important place to myself and my family. We are able bring our sadness to this place and turn it into a reflection that deepens our lives and our compassion for all those who suffer loss."

Soroptimists International member

"It is a lovely place for thought, meditation and comfort in nature, a place to find peace in the chaos of life."

Place of Reflection visitor

"I really like the words on the path as well as the words on the bench. If you have come through a time of grieving, you do at times feel very alone – particularly if you have experienced the loss of a life partner. The words on the bench ‘You are not alone’ were particularly meaningful to me."

Place of Reflection visitor

"A beautiful, peaceful place for people experiencing grief and loss to spend some quiet time, remembering and healing."

Place of Reflection visitor