Dubbo Wiradjuri Tourism Centre

Summary: The Dubbo Wiradjuri Tourism Centre will deliver an Aboriginal cultural experience truly unique to Dubbo, and support the further development of the Dubbo Region as a leader in cultural tourism; community engagement and support growth in the national and international visitor market.

The, yet to be named, Dubbo Wiradjuri tourism experience will be a space of cultural learning for visitors to our region. The facility will provide opportunity for the original custodians of the land, to tell their story, and share the story of Wiradjuri. The experience will include art gallery and museum space, yarning circles, dedicated cultural performance areas, educational facilities, corporate and community meeting spaces and trails linking the centre to the Wiradjuri Gardens of the Botanical Gardens.  A café featuring local produce and indigenous inspired flavour will entice and offer sanctuary to celebrate culture. 

Key project progression:

  • Completion of stage one Wiradjuri Gardens. Stage two of the Garden, including interpretation, cultural uses, botanical and cultural plant names along with further plant bed development remains unfunded.
  • Creation of a local community, skill based Wiradjuri Technical Advisory Panel to provide project manager with essential cultural advice, valuable community direction and guide project appointments over an 2 year period. Panel intakes occurred in December 2019 and November 2020. The panel had direct input into the development of the experience, commitment to site location, selection of architect and co-design of the building design. The panel included a range of indigenous community members including traditional owners, business owners, tourism operators, language educators, employment facilitators, youth representatives and cultural educators.
  • The panel will be instrumental in the future structure of project steering committee for the final year of the project, and operational governance model for the facility will be determined by community representative collaboration with the new Council in early 2022.  
  • Detailed project scope finalised with community and internal business plan drafted including proposed staffing and community governance structure.
  • Consultation with community and Australian Museum regarding for the long term loan of Wiradjuri artefacts currently in storage. Cataloguing of known artefacts completed. Provenancing of artefacts by the Australian Museum is currently incomplete.
  • Extensive tender process for architecture services completed. The process attracted 27 quality applications from around Australia, and resulted in the development of five detailed designs for community panel decision.
  • Appointment of Peter Stutchbury Architecture, Tender Awarded for Wiradjuri Tourism Centre including indigenous landscape architect Yerrabingin. Selection of a facility design include stage 1 and unfunded stage two. 

    Stage 1: Exhibition space, Gallery, Visitor Shop, Artists workshop, Cultural demonstration space, Local and bush food cafe. Since the development of the above scope of works, extensive community consultation has further developed the possible deliverables of an extended Aboriginal cultural precinct.  These additional projects will be delivered in a staged approach if and when funding becomes available.
    Stage 2: Touring exhibition space, immersive visitor experience and event space to increase the diversity of visitation and depth of content for visitors. This stage also includes an education/business hub section to support further employment opportunities and leverage business development outcomes. Lastly, and most importantly, stage two will enable desires of community to be met through the development of a single standing holding place for community led safekeeping for range of repatriated items from museums or private collections. (currently unfunded – application being made to NSW Government Creative Capital Fund)
    Stage 3: Car Park and Security Fence (currently unfunded, Funding application made to: Safer Communities Fund)

  • Initial site visits and community meetings have been held with Peter Stutchbury Architects and Yerrabingin to finalise detailed designs on stage one of the building and aligned landscaping.
  • Key experience themes determined by community to inform initial visitor interpretation in the centre and inform long term interpretation plan for the centre. Local story gathering commenced. Following a number unsuccessful attempts to recruit a first nations curator/development officer to the project the Panel endorsed appointment of experienced contractors to develop the interpretation plan in collaboration with community and Peter Stutchbury Architecture to ensure authentic and connected experience for visitors and community.
  • Expression of interest undertaken to seek additional funding for stage two through Creative Capital NSW. EOI was successful and the project has been invited to apply to the next stage for consideration. A determination on applying for construction of stage two will be considered by new Council in 2022.
  • Funding applications were submitted for elder parking for the northern end of the precinct and fencing round the facility have been submitted to NSW Government funding program. Awaiting outcomes of applications.
Latest update: Peter Stutchbury Architecture is undertaking detailed designs of stage one of the building. Once completed the designed will be put through quantity surveyor to ensure works remain in line with project budget.

Reclassification of land process has commenced with the related public exhibition period ending in January 2022.

Funding: Funding for the Dubbo Wiradjuri Tourism Centre is $4,157,614 made available through the NSW Government - Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund and Dubbo Regional Council.. Stage 1 of the Wiradjuri gardens - stage 1 was funded with $900,000 through the NSW Stronger Communities grant program.

Council thank the following community representatives that volunteered to part of the Wiradjuri Technical Advisory Panel at various times in 2019 to 2021. Your time, advice, guidance and direction was critical to the progression of this project:
Lewis Burns, Brian Ah-see, Peter Peckham, Anthony Riley, Paul Carr, Robert Riley, Shirley Wilson, Mary Ann Hausia, Tony Fuller, Paycee Cubby, Charlie Trindall, Amy Cubby,  Tatum Moore, Ashleigh Knight.

Council also thank the various community groups, organisations, individuals and elders who have provided this project with their valuable time, views and personal stories. Special thank you to the Dubbo Aboriginal Working Party that provided initial letters of support to the tourism centre project, nominated members to the Advisory Panel and remain engaged in ensuring the project delivers outcomes for community.

Tender proposal - Wiradjuri Tourism Centre 2
Image caption: Architect's impression of the Wiradjuri Tourism Centre 

Image caption: Area dedicated to the Wiradjuri Tourism Centre 

Last Edited: 05 Apr 2022

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