AFTER two years of planning an apology garden, built to acknowledge the pain caused to victims of historical sexual assault, will be officially opened in the grounds of St Stanislaus' College on Saturday.
Head of College, Dr Anne Wenham, issued an open invitation to the community via the school's website and newsletter, to attend the opening, which gets underway at 10am.
The garden was proposed by a spokesperson for the families at the conclusion of official apologies delivered to victims of historical abuse at the college and their families and friends in June, 2017.
The formal apology was one of the school's sesquicentenary events, and acknowledged the historic abuse committed against students at the boarding school between the 1970s and 1990s.
Eight men, who all taught at the school, were jailed following the biggest investigation into historic sexual assault ever seen in NSW.
Dr Wenham said as a result of the proposal put forward at the apology the college invited all those interested to a meeting at the school and discussed a suitable location for the garden.
She said the important criteria established were that the garden needed to be available to all visitors, to be a place that could offer some peace and quiet, that it be a garden that could flourish and grow through all Bathurst seasons and that it be easily accessible for anyone with mobility issues.
"We've done our best to respond to all these priorities and look forward to our opening to which we welcome visitors and particularly those families who proposed the construction of the garden two years ago," she said.
Deidre Kinghorn, who was one of the people behind the idea said she hoped the garden would help in the healing process for those who had been abused.
She said she had reached out to victims to attend the opening, but said many can't bring themselves to return to the school.
She said while she understood their pain, she believes part of the healing process is to try and "let go of the hate."
"This is a promise fulfilled," she said.
Mrs Kinghorn thanked Dr Wenham for seeing the project to completion.
Following the opening, morning tea will be served. For catering purposes, those attending are asked to RSVP to Liz Woodside via firstname.lastname@example.org.