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Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre looks to the future with new Kaurna name

Posted December 14, 2021

Construction has commenced on the new $200 million Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre (Tarrkarri) at Lot Fourteen, marking a major milestone in the delivery of the project.

The Centre’s Kaurna name was also unveiled at the event today. The Centre will now be known as Tarrkarri, (pronounced tar-ka-ri) – Centre for First Nations Cultures and was announced by Kaurna Elder Uncle Jeffrey Newchurch.

The new name means ‘the future’ in Kaurna language and symbolises the setting of strong foundations for the Centre and where the Centre is located on the Adelaide Plains. It was selected by the AACC Aboriginal Reference Group and given cultural consent by Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi.

Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the Centre – which is being funded through the Adelaide City Deal – will be an important cultural and tourism attraction. “The new Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre – Tarrkarri – will showcase the rich history of Aboriginal cultures in Australia to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year through immersive visual and performance arts,” Minister Fletcher said. “It is one of many important projects being delivered through the Adelaide City Deal, which is a commitment from all three levels of government to deliver community infrastructure that supports jobs, drives economic growth, and enhances the liveability and vibrancy of the city.”

South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall said today’s presentation of a commemorative Karra (River Redgum) tree to the Kaurna people was a historic event and signalled the commencement of a world-class facility that will become one of the state’s leading tourism destinations, creating hundreds of jobs in the process.

Kaurna Elder Uncle Jeffrey Newchurch leading a smoking ceremony with Shaun McLennan from Raw SA.

“This is a special day for South Australians as we pause and celebrate a point in history where together we’ll create a place of belonging, healing, reconciliation and pride for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Not only will this project create jobs once it’s built, it is estimated to create 2700 jobs during construction,” Premier Marshall said.

Federal Minister for Finance and Senator for South Australia Simon Birmingham said the construction of the Centre was important recognition of our nation’s Aboriginal cultural heritage and would become a major drawcard to South Australia’s tourism sector.

“The development of this centre is creating hundreds of local jobs and once complete will continue to deliver economic benefits to the state while offering visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves into the world’s oldest living cultures,” Minister Birmingham said.

The project launch included the presentation of a commemorative Karra (River Redgum) tree to the Kaurna people and was attended by Senior Kaurna custodians, leaders and elders as well as project stakeholders.

Ambassador for the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre and leader of the Aboriginal Reference Group, David Rathman AM, said the new Kaurna name is a perfect title, fitting the Centre’s vision to a tee.

“Tarrkarri, the Centre for First Nations Culture will showcase to the world, and all Australians, 60,000 years of culture, understanding of Country and contemporary expression through education, performance, language, visual arts and the use of our wonderful and extensive collections with the use of modern and innovative technologies,” Mr Rathman said.

“It will allow us to share our unique cultures and stories, while creating a lively and immersive journey together.”

At the project launch, Lendlease was announced as the lead contractor managing the construction of the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre.

General Manager of Building at Lendlease South Australia, Ben Symons said this project of national significance will set a new standard for First Nations engagement in government infrastructure projects and demonstrates that Lendlease’s Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan commitments form a part of the way we do business.

“Promoting First Nations leadership and delivering shared prosperity is a focus of our projects around the country, along with our commitment to ensuring it leaves a positive legacy through local employment, training and procurement opportunities,” Mr Paterson said.

The Centre’s Aboriginal Economic Participation Strategy will ensure more jobs and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are created across the supply chain as the project moves into the construction phase.

The Centre, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot, will create an extraordinary, immersive experience combining traditional storytelling with modern technology to deliver a major cultural visitor attraction that will attract an estimated 700,000 visitors a year.

Tarrkarri – Centre for First Nations Cultures is an Adelaide City Deal project at Lot Fourteen, funded by the Australian and South Australian governments. The Centre will open to the public in early 2025.

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