Push For Aboriginal Cultural Centre
Article courtesy of Manning River Times – HELEN MANUSU
12 Jan, 2010 08:25 AM
GREATER Taree City Council has thrown its support behind the establishment of an Aboriginal cultural and environmental heritage centre at Cattai Wetlands.
In a report to council, the council’s director of planning and building Graham Gardner identifies the project as a significant opportunity.
“The Cattai Wetlands project clearly has a major potential benefit in encouraging healthy relationships within our community,” Mr Gardner said in the report.
“Aboriginal cultural heritage is knowledge that needs to be actively incorporated into school programs.
“Having a place where the local Aboriginal heritage can be presented in a quality facility, and a beautiful part of the Manning Valley environment, would be a significant advantage.”
Concept sketches have been prepared by landscape architect Pam Fletcher and initial support has been encouraging.
“There is significant goodwill in the Manning Valley community to support the project and help make its outcome a reality.
“Most importantly, this project has the potential for us all to show pride in the value of the traditional knowledge of the Aboriginal community.
“It will also provide opportunities for Aboriginal employment that is so necessary in our community.”
It is considered that the location of Cattai, 1.2 kilometres from the Pacific Highway and at the edge of the vast coastal wetlands systems running to Crowdy Head and north through the Great Swamp, provides a great opportunity for the pursuit of a high-quality cultural and environmental interpretation centre.
At a recent ordinary meeting, the council resolved to establish a project steering committee comprising the mayor, Cr Paul Hogan, along with Cr Mave Richardson, Cr David Keegan, four local Aboriginal community representatives, one senior staff member and Taree lawyer Maurie Stack, who will provide free advice.
The steering committee is requested to provide a feasibility report to the council within six months of its first meeting.
Funding will be sought from both federal and State government levels.
The corporate sector, both locally and beyond, can also be approached to sponsor the activity.
A total costing for the project is not available at this stage.