The Wiradjuri Cultural Tourism Centre is proposed to deliver a truly unique Aboriginal cultural experience, support the region as a leader in cultural tourism and support growth in the national and international visitor market. The yet to be named facility will provide opportunity for the original custodians of the land to tell their story, and in sharing the Wiradjuri experience provide a space of cultural learning and celebration.

The Wiradjuri Cultural Tourism Centre is a $15 million facility, but only $2.2 million will be provided by ratepayers, with the Australian Government providing $7.2 million and $5.6 million from the State Government. ($0.7M is funding that has already been used so far, the other $4.9M is from Create NSW)

We’re thrilled to fully realise this community project after Council unanimously resolved in December 2023 to go ahead with the project if the grant was successful. The Wiradjuri Cultural Tourism Centre will be an inclusive space to celebrate and share traditional and contemporary Wiradjuri culture on Country.

The Centre is expected to generate a $90 million economic benefit and create up to 160 job opportunities within its first three years. It will also boost national and international tourism, offering cultural experiences to the 1.3 million annual visitors to the Dubbo Region.

Project estimates for design, approvals and construction of stage 1 and stage 2 of the tourism centre project is $16,444,897, this includes $1.2M for the Wiradjuri Garden.

Identified funding for the Wiradjuri Cultural Tourism Centre currently includes:

  • $900,000 through the NSW Stronger Communities grant program for the Wiradjuri Gardens component with Council contributing $300,000.
  • $864,434 made available through the NSW Government - Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund and Dubbo Regional Council, and
  • $4,999,958 made available through the NSW Government (Create NSW) – Creative Capital Funding Program Medium to Large Projects, and
  • $7,190,505 made available through the Australian Government – Growing Regions Program Funding with Council contributing an $2.2m in matched funding.

The forecast budget in the adopted forward budget of Dubbo Regional Council identifies $400,000pa to support operations of the Wiradjuri Cultural Tourism Centre.

A local community, skill based Wiradjuri Technical Advisory Panel was created to provide Council with essential cultural advice, valuable community direction and guide project appointments over a 2 year period. 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.

Council thank the following community representatives that volunteered to be 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 engaged with 53 individual organisations and agencies in the development of the Wiradjuri Cultural Tourism Centre.

Council 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 Community 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.

Community committees and working parties allow a public forum for Councillors and Council staff to consult with representatives of the local community on important local issues. Council resolved to establish a Community Committee for the project.

The aim of the Wiradjuri Tourism Project Committee is to support the strategic direction and provide cultural guide and for the development of the Wiradjuri Tourism Centre.

View a copy of the Terms of Reference for this committee Final Terms of Reference - Wiradjuri Tourism Project Committee (nsw.gov.au)

Committee Members:
Councillor L Burns
Councillor M Wright
Councillor P Wells
Chief Executive Officer
Director Community Culture and Places
Manager Regional Experiences
Cultural Development Coordinator
Aboriginal Liaison Officer
T Moore
R Riley
D Stewart
S Wilson

Through the development of the Wiradjuri Tourism Centre design, Council worked closely with the Aboriginal community to ensure an Aboriginal voice guided the co-designed facility. This included the Aboriginal Community selecting the Architect (Peter Strutchbury Design) and working closely with an Aboriginal Landscape Designer (Yerrabingin) and the consultation of the exhibition and interpretation, with an exhibition company (Freeman Ryan Designs) experience in working with community on Aboriginal led experiences.

An extensive tender process for architecture services attracted 27 quality applications from around Australia, and resulted in the development of five detailed designs for community panel decision. After seeing presentations from all the shortlisted candidates, the Wiradjuri Technical Advisory Panel had in-depth discussions about the designs, details and execution. The process resulted in appointment of Peter Stutchbury Architecture, including indigenous landscape architect Yerrabingin.

Project partners include:

  • Peter Stutchbury Architect
  • Yerrabingin Landscaping
  • Freeman Ryan Design
  • Mitchell Brandtman 5D Quantity Surveyors

The design responds to community and the pride of culture.

The Wiradjuri Cultural Tourism Centre aims to deliver on a community vision to create an inclusive place to celebrate and share traditional and contemporary culture on country, providing opportunity to strengthen self-determination and cultural integrity through interpretation, culture and art. Additionally, ensuring the Aboriginal community have a safe, future-proofed, keeping place on country.

Throughout the consultation period with the Wiradjuri Technical Advisory Panel (WTAP), future operating models were raised and discussed as part of the facility design to ensure community understood the outcomes required from the facility and how Council and Community could best deliver these outcomes in an authentic, environmentally and financially sustainable way. Discussions centred on “Aboriginal people telling Aboriginal stories” and the need for Aboriginal organisations and community to lead activation within the facility to ensure a high level of authenticity and a quality cultural tourism experience. During this consultation, WTAP endorsed the proposed operating structure for Stage 1 noting the strong desire to have any external contractors and Council staff be Indigenous, with a preference for Wiradjuri where possible.

At the ordinary Council meeting held July 2023, Council resolved, That Council, recognising the need for this to be a community led experience, continue to engage community and government agencies to establish formal partnerships with Aboriginal owned organisation/s for the future ongoing operations of the Wiradjuri Tourism Centre.

Location and design summary

Peter Stutchbury Architecture