19 July 2005

Lonely Planet and the empty aboriginal centre

| johnboy
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Jacqui Burke has drawn attention to a somewhat embarrassing matter for the Government.

Lonely Planet’s Aboriginal Australia and the Torres Strait Islands guide to indigenous Australia states the following about the cultural centre at Yarramundi Reach:

‘The Ngunnawal Aboriginal land council plans to set up an Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Yarramundi Reach, on the western shore of Lake Burley Griffin, in 2001. It will focus on the culture and history of Indigenous peoples of the Canberra region.’ (1st edition, July 2001, p180)

I visited the centre recently: sadly it was cold, uninviting and apart from a few pieces of art hanging in a large room, the building is empty.

The Ngunnawal do appear to be using the space for their own purposes and Matriarch Matilda House must have given Jacqui a mauling because she’s put out a further response.

Personally I always advise people not to put too much faith in Lonely Planet as they damn near killed me with bad information on the Sino-Vietnamese border a few years ago.

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Pretty much all the area around civic, braddon etc was where teh tribes woudl congregate annually to exchange brides, resolve differences etc.

Garema Place to a T! Only thing that’s changed is Bogon Moths have been exchanged for ecstasy. Well that and annually has been changed to every weekend.

i read a very interesting book about canberra not so long ago. Pretty much all the area around civic, braddon etc was where teh tribes woudl congregate annually to exchange brides, resolve differences etc. it said that it was not unusual for people in that area doing gardening to uncover primitive stone tools in the garden.

Apparently there was also a convict settlement in Evatt.

Maybe there is a need for an education centre after all.

All these sites are a wonderful example of historical locations around the ACT, but my point concerns culture and historical artefacts.

No flame intended since you know where I live Thumper, but I can’t see anybody getting out the stone cutting tools anytime soon for preservation purposes.

Perhaps this is yet another example of white colonialism impressing our cultural requirements (as in having a museum) on a race that had no requirement and no intention for one.

Perhaps it’s our own misdirected social political correctness imposing said cultural requirements on a people that don’t want it.

another reason why the building is empty.

If this Aboriginal Culture Centre is the building(s) that housed the former offices of the NMA, (before the present monstrosity was constructed) then it is extremely valuable Commonwealth Govt. real estate and I wonder under what terms and circumstances it was handed over to be an Aboriginal Culture centre – I thought that was the purpose of the NMA. (For the record, I once worked on secondment there – it was an extremely beautiful spot and I imagine priceless in real estate terms as its absolute lake water frontage.) Oh, I know I’m being extremely non-PC!

Without appearing extremely racist, just what is the culture and history of Indigenous peoples of the Canberra region ?

I thought it (as in culture and history) had only existed since LBG was a sheep paddock, hence the appropriatness of an empty room.

That’s not to say that it’s appropriate for the indigenous community to have a facility that is capable of holding artefacts and presentations of their cultural history, and the building appears to be quite a suitable receptacle for such items (by virtue of it being empty – I haven’t visited), the real issue to me is what has been hampering the government for years. Other than giving them more social welfare, just what are they doing of cultural and historical worth that is worthy of being displayed ?

empty rooms tell big stories.

you need a whole lot of other things to go wrong to get life threatening i grant you.

The bus from the nearest major town takes more like seven hours than 3.

thats at the dong dang crossing, can’t speak for the one with the rail link.

I’d be keen to know what the bad info about the Sino/Vietnames border is. I’ll be crossing it in a few months.

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