Celebrating National Reconciliation Week

26 May 2022

Running from 27 May to 3 June National Reconciliation Week highlights Australian Aboriginal culture, the importance of learning about our shared history, and fostering discussion and action on reconciliation in our communities.

This year’s theme of Be Brave. Make Change is a “challenge to all Australians— individuals, families, communities, organisations and government — to Be Brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so we can Make Change for the benefit of all Australians.”

During our studio’s recent trip to Warrane (Sydney Cove, Sydney), our team took part in the illi-Langi The Rocks Aboriginal Dreaming Tour, a walk led by Aboriginal Elder and Dunghutti – Jerrinjah woman Margret Campbell around The Rocks neighbourhood, overlooking the city’s famous harbour. Despite the heavy downpour on the day, our team experienced an illuminating, emotional, and essential tour of Country and culture.

Through stories and history of Sydney harbour and the local Eora traditional owners, the urban landscape we walked through became something far greater than “The Rocks”; it is a birthplace, an educator, a home, a community, a food basket, a tool shed.

For our team, the breadth of knowledge shared by Aunty Margaret and the tour’s second guide Amanda underlined the importance of continuing to learn more about the connection of people to place as well as the traditional stories and sustainable processes carried on by First Nation groups across Australia. It also left us with many questions, a need for a deeper understanding of a diverse lens that is often spoken about but seldom fully explored in our industry — something we know is beginning to change.

As architects, designers, and creators, we know that all the projects we undertake are on Aboriginal Country and have impacts on not only the land, but also on the communities which continue to have a deep cultural connection to these places.

The spaces and structures we help build have an opportunity to maintain, repair, and celebrate Country and culture, and give a voice to many communities. And it does start with us to Make Change, to listen, learn, co-design, to diversify an Australian built environment that reflects cultural knowledge, ideas, and fosters a deeper understanding of Aboriginal perspectives.