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Indigenous

Local Aboriginal knowledge and cultural centre opens in Redfern

City of Sydney 4 mins read
Credit - City of Sydney/Chris Southwood

A centre for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to gather, share knowledge and practise culture has opened in the heart of Redfern, following extensive consultation with communities about the use of the space and an accessibility upgrade.

 

Purchased by the City of Sydney, the two-storey former post office at 119 Redfern Street sits in a location synonymous with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activism and community-controlled organisations.

 

Speaking at the opening event on Saturday 11 May, City of Sydney project manager Tracey Duncan said the centre will be a flexible space where local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can gather, participate in activities and events, access services, and share knowledge and culture.

 

“The local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community told us they want a welcoming space run by the local community that’s underpinned by culture and fosters wellbeing, knowledge, local stories and histories,” Duncan said.

 

“When I think of a knowledge centre, I think of living culture. Not a place filled with materials and objects, but with people who have real life experiences and knowledge. A place where stories, traditions and knowledge can be passed down through generations and preserved, cherished and shared with all that seek to learn. It's a testament to the resilience, strength and enduring spirit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples whose connection to this land and waterways spans millennia.

“Whether it’s workshops, exhibitions, classes or a cup of tea, we hope 119 Redfern Street is enjoyed by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members of all ages. Ultimately, it’s a versatile space and will be what community makes it.”

 

The centre features four rooms available for weekday use including:

- a large versatile space for events and meetings for up to 50 people

- a performance space also suitable for exhibitions, conferences and presentations with a 50-person capacity

- a bright tea room that opens on to a verandah for small community gatherings

- a room dedicated to family research.

 

A new entryway and lift make the building accessible.

 

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the knowledge and cultural centre would deliver on a promise made in the City of Sydney’s Eora Journey – a program of work promoting cultural, economic and social sustainability for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the local area.

 

“Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities highlighted the need for a culturally safe space to gather, access services and share knowledge and culture. We’re very proud to deliver on that need with a truly community-run space,” the Lord Mayor said.

 

“119 Redfern Street sits in the heart of an area synonymous with Indigenous community, culture and activism. Purchasing the building and converting it for this purpose reflects our commitment to ensuring Redfern remains a proudly Aboriginal place.

 

“The City of Sydney Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel and Indigenous Leadership and Engagement team have worked tirelessly with the local community to reclaim the colonial building and turn it into a beautiful place for people to gather, participate in activities, workshops and events, access services, and share knowledge and culture.

 

“We will continue to work with the community to make sure 119 Redfern Street is a culturally safe and inclusive space to come together, preserve history and feel empowered to help shape a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future.”

 

Co-chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel Dan Munro said he’s looking forward to hosting sessions for fathers at 119 Redfern Street.

 

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities hold rich cultural heritage, but we also face unique challenges in modern society, including ensuring the wellbeing and positive development of our children,” Munro said.

 

“I established a program called Biyanga, or Father in Gadigal language, to empower local dads with knowledge and skills to be confident and nurturing fathers.

 

“Run out of 119 Redfern Street, the sessions will strengthen family bonds and promote cultural pride and traditional practices.”

 

Aboriginal City of Sydney employees will run and manage the centre while governance structures for the future community management and self-determination of 119 Redfern Street are developed with community.

 

A local Aboriginal knowledge and culture centre is one of four components of the City of Sydney’s long-standing Eora Journey program.

 

The Eora Journey also includes major public art projects by local artists, significant events that celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage, and an economic development plan to contribute to the sustained prosperity of First Nations communities.

 

Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and organisations can book spaces at affordable rates by emailing 119RedfernStreet@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au. Eligible groups can also apply to have venue hire and insurance fees waived.

 

Find out more about 119 Redfern Street at cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/community-centres/119-redfern-street

 

Email biyanga@outlook.com.au to find out more about the program for fathers, Biyanga.

 

For media enquiries contact Roxanne Macara. Phone 0438 554 640 or email rmacara@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

 

For interviews with Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO, contact Paul Mackay. Phone 0436 816 604 or email pmackay@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

 

Visit sydneybarani.com.au for more on the Aboriginal history of Sydney.

 

For more stories from your local area, visit news.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

 

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