REDFERN: The Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) has delivered on its promise to build 62 affordable homes for rent to Aboriginal families as the first stage of the Pemulwuy Project.
Construction and internal fit outs of the apartments and townhouses are complete, with only some external landscaping and signage left to install. Expressions of interest are being received from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants who wish to live in the new Pemulwuy housing.
Chairperson of the AHC board Alisi Tutuila said: “This is a proud moment for the AHC. As the promised first stage welcomes the first families on site, it is a very exciting and emotional time for all involved. The AHC has delivered on its four-decade long vision to provide housing and self-determination for generations to come.”
Under the apartments on Caroline Street, the two-level Elouera Tony Mundine Gym which is yet to be fitted out is being used by Pemulwuy construction staff as a lunch room. When installed, the gym’s spacious area and modern facilities will be in contrast to the old gym at the bottom of The Block.
Construction continues on the Col James student accommodation on Precinct 3 between the railway line and Eveleigh Street. While the AHC retains land ownership, AHC entered a 99-year lease for this portion of its land with Atira, a Brisbane-based student housing provider. The lease was paid up-front so the AHC could independently fund construction of the affordable housing without government funding or leaving the next generation in debt.
Atira was acquired in September 2019 by Scape Living Student Accommodation Australia, which is now completing the construction and will undertake its ongoing management. Units will be ready for occupation in time for Semester 2, 2021.
Precinct 2 on the corners of Lawson, Eveleigh and Caroline streets is presently being used to store equipment and materials for building on Precincts 1 and 3. From December 18, as new residents are moving in, and until the building housing the AHC office is ready for occupation, AHC staff will relocate to one of the level-three housing units above the gym so they are on hand to assist residents adjust to their new homes.
The new community re-establishes the long-time Aboriginal presence on the first land bought back for Aboriginal-owned housing in 1973, in the spirit of Pemulwuy the Bidjigal warrior who resisted the early colonists who threatened his people and culture.