Ngurra: The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Precinct

Media release
05 Jan 2022
Prime Minister, Minister for Indigenous Australians

The Morrison Government will build Ngurra, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural precinct, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in the Parliamentary Triangle, on Ngunnawal country (Canberra).

Ngurra, meaning ‘home’, ‘country’ or ‘place of belonging’, will include a learning and knowledge centre, a national resting place to care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains and a new home for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new $316.5 million precinct would take its place among Australia’s premier institutions in the parliamentary triangle as a place of national pride and significance.

“Ngurra is the realisation of a long-held desire to have a home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories at the heart of our nation,” the Prime Minister said.

“It will be a national landmark of the highest order, standing proudly for us all to celebrate, educate, reflect and commemorate.

“It will be built in Commonwealth Place, on the primary axis in the Parliamentary Triangle – between Old Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial - demonstrating the importance and reverence this institution should hold.

“It will be built fully in accordance with the proposal developed by AIATSIS and presented to Government for approval, as a result of their consultation processes.”

“All Australians and visitors to our nation will be able to gain a deeper appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ diversity and cultures, and the richness this offers our country.

“This new world-class facility will contribute to our continuing journey of reconciliation, where Indigenous Australians can tell their stories, in the way they want, for all visitors to have a greater understanding of our shared history.”

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said the learning and engagement, exhibitions, research and curation that would occur at Ngurra would be significant acts of truth-telling.

“At its heart will be a national resting place where the remains of Indigenous Australians taken from their country will be cared for until they are able to be returned to their communities,” Minister Wyatt said.

“And in instances where provenance has been forgotten or erased, they will be cared for in perpetuity with dignity and respect.

“As new home to AIATSIS, the precinct will also house and make accessible the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and heritage items.

“Ngurra will provide a new perspective on our shared history, as a significant moment for truth-telling, and a new place where the diversity of Indigenous Australia and one of the world’s oldest living cultures will be celebrated.”

An architectural design competition will be run in 2022 to develop an iconic design fitting for the location and that reflects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ aspirations, achievements and deep connection to Country.

Further content is available at Ngurra announcement video (Dropbox).