Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomeNewsFirst PeoplesA place where culture can be cherished and shared

A place where culture can be cherished and shared

Some years back, the City of Sydney purchased 119 Redfern Street (former site of Redfern Post Office) with the intention of providing a local Aboriginal knowledge and culture centre. The premises was officially opened on May 11, and offers two levels of multipurpose community and commercial space.

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 tearoom that opens on to a veranda for small community gatherings; a room dedicated to family research. A new entryway and lift make the building accessible.

City of Sydney project manager and Gomeroi woman, Tracey Duncan, said when she thinks of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge centre, she thinks of living culture.

“Not a place filled with materials and objects, but with people who have real-life experiences and knowledge,” Ms Duncan said at the opening ceremony. “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.”

Co-chair of the City’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, Dan Munro, said he’s looking forward to hosting sessions for fathers at the new centre.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities hold rich cultural heritage, but we also face unique challenges in modern society, including ensuring the well-being and positive development of our children,” the Wiradjuri Gomeroi man 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. The sessions will strengthen family bonds and promote cultural pride and traditional practices.”

119 Redfern Street is part of the City’s Eora Journey program which aims to promote cultural, economic and social sustainability for First Nations communities in Sydney.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: “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.”

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.

The SSH is delighted to see the centre open. Amid ongoing gentrification in the area, the facility reflects strong community support for Aboriginal sovereignty – longstanding commitments to ensuring Redfern remains a proudly Aboriginal place.

We look forward to visiting and participating in whatever programs are established there.

This year’s Reconciliation Week theme is apt. Now more than ever, the work of reconciliation continues – in treaty-making, in truth-telling, in understanding our history, in education, and in tackling racism. Now more than ever, we need connection. We need respect. We need action.

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