The state government’s commitment to the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre at Lot Fourteen has been strengthened with the announcement this week of an extra $50m funding in the State Budget.
This brings the total commitment for the centre to $200 million, which includes $85 million from the Australian Government under the Adelaide City Deal.
Premier Steven Marshall, who has responsibility for Aboriginal Affairs, said work on a full business case and preliminary design brief was underway with anticipated construction starting in 2021.
Premier Steven Marshall takes part in a Toolbox Yarns session at Lot Fourteen.
“The AACC will position South Australia as the gateway to the oldest living cultures in the world by offering extraordinary immersive experiences, combining traditional storytelling with modern technology, to create a global tourism attraction,” he said.
The AACC is being developed in partnership with Aboriginal people and will offer insights into more than 65,000 years of history and achievements by the First Nations peoples of Australia.
It will showcase the South Australian Museum’s collection of more than 30,000 items from around Australia - the most comprehensive collection of Australian Aboriginal cultural material in the world. the Centre will also feature artefacts and works of art in all forms from other institutions and organisations within SA and nationally, including Tandanya and the Art Gallery of SA.
Premier Marshall emphasised the importance of sharing stories and experiences when he spoke to contractors at Lot Fourteen recently as part of the Toolbox Yarns series to foster understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working on site.
“Some people come to reconciliation very quickly, some people take a long period of time, but the more that we can share stories and share experiences, the better off we will be, so that Aboriginal people can understand our perspective and we can understand their perspective and we can work together on this journey of healing and reconciliation,” he said.
The Premier said the AACC would make a major contribution to reconciliation.
“We have got an opportunity to do something that is globally significant. It will be very important in reconciliation that we have with Aboriginal people,” he said.
“Art itself is a wonderful expression of culture that can be used to preserve stories and songlines but it’s also a great celebration of that culture for the rest of the world and that’s one of the motivating factors for me for Lot Fourteen and what we want to establish here with the AACC.
“When I speak to Aboriginal people, they are very proud of their culture, they are very proud of 65,000 years on this continent, nurturing this continent, looking after this land.
“When you read some of the history of things that happened before colonisation, you do learn a lot more the wonderful communities and nations that existed here before.
“What I hope, with the AACC, we can start to celebrate that 65,000 years of Aboriginal stories and songlines,” Mr Marshall said.
“I don’t want it to be just ethnographic, with grainy black and white photos of what has happened over time.
“I think it’s got to be something which celebrates what has happened in the past, recognises that it hasn’t always been good, in fact it’s actually been very brutal and there has got to be a strong element of truth telling in this Centre,” he said.