PM announces new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural precinct for Canberra

Karyn Starmer 5 January 2022 38
Old Parliament House, LBG, AWM

‘Ngurra’ will be built on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin between Old Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

A new $316 million Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural precinct has been announced by the Federal Government.

To be built on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin between Old Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial, the precinct will be called Ngurra, meaning ‘home’, ‘country’ or ‘place of belonging’.
The precinct will include a national resting place to care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains and a learning and knowledge centre.
The site will also be a new home for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

In an announcement today (5 January) Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new $316.5 million precinct would take its place among Australia’s premier institutions in the parliamentary triangle as a place of national pride and significance.

“Ngurra is the realisation of a long-held desire to have a home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories at the heart of our nation,” the Prime Minister said.

“All Australians and visitors to our nation will be able to gain a deeper appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ diversity and cultures, and the richness this offers our country.

“This new world-class facility will contribute to our continuing journey of reconciliation, where Indigenous Australians can tell their stories, in the way they want, for all visitors to have a greater understanding of our shared history.”

The precinct will be built in accordance with the proposal developed by AIATSIS and presented to government for approval as a result of their consultation processes.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said the learning and engagement, exhibitions, research and curation that would occur at Ngurra would be significant acts of truth-telling.

“At its heart will be a national resting place where the remains of Indigenous Australians taken from their country will be cared for until they are able to be returned to their communities,” Minister Wyatt said.

“And in instances where provenance has been forgotten or erased, they will be cared for in perpetuity with dignity and respect.


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“As new home to AIATSIS, the precinct will also house and make accessible the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and heritage items.

“Ngurra will provide a new perspective on our shared history, as a significant moment for truth-telling, and a new place where the diversity of Indigenous Australia and one of the world’s oldest living cultures will be celebrated.”

An architectural design competition will be run in 2022 to develop an iconic design fitting for the location and that reflects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ aspirations, achievements and deep connection to country.


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38 Responses to PM announces new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural precinct for Canberra
Malcolm Campbell Malcolm Campbell 10:04 am 09 Jan 22

Still won’t bring any peace and reconciliation.

Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 10:12 pm 06 Jan 22

I thought this building was to be constructed in front of the questacon building on the existing car park

Avril Pounds Avril Pounds 1:05 pm 06 Jan 22

And how many millions are allocated to our health care system? Or is it all being spent on the light rail and AWM works that nobody wants.

    Nevil Kingston-Brown Nevil Kingston-Brown 3:03 pm 06 Jan 22

    Avril Pounds The federal health budget is 98.2 BILLION. This is 1/3 of 1% of that. https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/BudgetReview202122/HealthOverview#:~:text=Total%20spending%20on%20health%20in,161%E2%80%93162).

Peter Graves Peter Graves 11:11 am 06 Jan 22

It does NOT appear that the local Indigenous elders and custodians WERE consulted
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7570976/traditional-custodians-reject-ngurra-precinct/?cs=14329

    Elf Elf 4:36 pm 06 Jan 22

    Wouldn’t matter who they consulted with, another of their group would be unhappy. They are not really a unified mob.

Heavs Heavs 9:13 am 06 Jan 22

“jangles keys”

Kylie Russell Kylie Russell 8:48 am 06 Jan 22

And in years to come it will be another eye sore for canberra

Mitch Hanigan Mitch Hanigan 7:57 am 06 Jan 22

Where are we getting the money from to pay for this? Just gonna keep printing it are we?

    Fred Colon Fred Colon 8:57 am 06 Jan 22

    I wouldn't worry it's just annother Morrison announcement. He still hasn't paid out the promised funds for the bushfires.

    Pat McCauley Pat McCauley 11:39 am 07 Jan 22

    Fred Colon was it the federal government or state governments who control this money? This is a genuine question.

    Money should have been distributed by now, not good enough.

Julie Werner Julie Werner 7:28 am 06 Jan 22

#scottyfrommarketing 🙄🥱

Linda Johnston Linda Johnston 1:36 am 06 Jan 22

Where the Tent Embassay is?

    Annie Wyer Annie Wyer 10:57 am 06 Jan 22

    Linda Johnston right in front of Old Parliament House. It’s quite small.

Tim Benson Tim Benson 1:35 am 06 Jan 22

26 January marks the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal Embassy. It has seen progress but not recognition of ongoing sovereignty or a treaty. Conservative politicians will condemn the burning of the doors of Old Parliament House but stay quiet as indigenous Australians die in custody and lag the rest of the community when it comes to almost all health and socio economic outcomes.

Anissa Jones Anissa Jones 9:59 pm 05 Jan 22

Ngurra is Dharug for country. Were Dharug Elders consulted on the name?

    Nevil Kingston-Brown Nevil Kingston-Brown 3:05 pm 06 Jan 22

    Anissa Jones The name is AIATSIS' suggestion. It appears in many languages. https://www.nativetitlesa.org/a-ngurra-for-indigenous-australia-in-canberra/

    Anissa Jones Anissa Jones 3:52 pm 06 Jan 22

    Nevil Kingston-Brown true. But have they all been consulted? It is a national building after all.

    Shawn Mulgrue Shawn Mulgrue 1:43 pm 07 Jan 22

    Anissa Jones go to the AIATSIS Website, there’s a bunch of media releases about it

    Anissa Jones Anissa Jones 2:32 pm 07 Jan 22

    Shawn Mulgrue I’ve read the two that are up there. It would be nice as I’m concerned that $$ were exchanged for the naming rights and yet it’s a word for many different mobs, who were not a part of the consultation process.

    Shawn Mulgrue Shawn Mulgrue 2:49 pm 07 Jan 22

    Anissa Jones maybe hit up the Comms team at AIATSIS then, I’m sure they’ll be happy to answer your questions!

Ben Roberts Ben Roberts 7:35 pm 05 Jan 22

How does this plan impact the view from War Memorial to OPH and the Griffin Plan? What does the design look like? What happens to the existing AITSIS building? Not saying its not longnoverdue, but this comes across as nothing more than a thought bubble.

Jason Gendle Jason Gendle 7:16 pm 05 Jan 22

So here's the thing this was offered back in the late 80s and they declined and chose to keep the tent embassy. So who's to say it will work this time. Unless they are forced to move i don't see the tent embassy going anywhere any time soon.

    Nevil Kingston-Brown Nevil Kingston-Brown 3:00 pm 06 Jan 22

    Jason Gendle This isn't anything to do with the tent embassy.

Rodney Weber Rodney Weber 7:10 pm 05 Jan 22

Somewhat confused by the location as the two mentioned places are on opposite sides of the lake?

    Jordan Serena Jordan Serena 7:32 pm 05 Jan 22

    Rodney Weber basically on the foreshore between Questacon and the National Portrait Gallery. I like the idea but question the placement as I think it goes against the original Burley Griffin plan. It may end up disturbing the great sight lines from Mt Ainslie

Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 6:50 pm 05 Jan 22

I hope this has been done with the consultation aboriginal leaders but most probably more of Scotty from marketing

    Allison Correa Allison Correa 7:38 pm 05 Jan 22

    Boweavil Kat it has. Local Ngunnawal leaders and elders were consulted

    Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 7:41 pm 05 Jan 22

    Allison Correa there are more nations than the Ngunnawal nation. They may have consulted one group (which I doubt) but one group doesn’t represent all groups

    Allison Correa Allison Correa 7:46 pm 05 Jan 22

    Boweavil Kat oh, I’m very clear on that. I’m just reiterating a comment I had read, written by a local Ngunnawal lady. If I can find the source again I’ll share here for you 🌻

    Shawn Mulgrue Shawn Mulgrue 1:42 pm 07 Jan 22

    Boweavil Kat here’s the AIATSIS Media release

    https://aiatsis.gov.au/whats-new/news/ngurra-national-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-cultural-precinct-will-close

Penelope Rose Penelope Rose 6:47 pm 05 Jan 22

Mr incompetence pre-election promise that will never happen.

Michael Groenhout Michael Groenhout 6:45 pm 05 Jan 22

Election o'clock

Josh HJ O'Connor Josh HJ O'Connor 6:43 pm 05 Jan 22

Well overdue and very much welcomed however it is but a blip in the middle of the maelstrom that is a dropping of the ball re: PCRs, covid case numbers across the board and the scarcity of RATs. But yeah, well done Scummo.

Stuart Mawbey Stuart Mawbey 6:42 pm 05 Jan 22

A good move, if it actually happens.

Sher Bee Sher Bee 6:37 pm 05 Jan 22

Fantastic and exciting news. Can’t wait to see Indigenous arts, clothes and hopefully foods to try and buy. Right on our doorstep

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