The Aboriginal Community led the push for a cultural space to recognise the rich tapestry of the local Aboriginal culture, the broader Wiradjuri Nation and highlight major issues that still resonate with contemporary Aboriginal culture today. The area chosen for this cultural space was Wiradjuri Park, located in West Dubbo just north of the Serisier Bridge. This site was purchased on the early 1990s, and was already known as Wiradjuri Park by the time of the development of the master plan.
$900,000 funding was secured through the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities Fund (SCF) to develop an indigenous tourism experience within Dubbo. Whilst further development of the riverine corridor was considered, following community and State Government stakeholder engagement, Council undertook the $1.2m construction of the award winning Wiradjuri Gardens at Elizabeth Park. The Wiradjuri Garden was officially opened on 16 June 2021.
Throughout the community consultation associated with the community led riverine corridor Wiradjuri Park and Wiradjuri Garden, and broader community strategic planning and discussions with industry and state government agencies, it was identified that an anchor facility to support communities desire to protect, educate and celebrate Wiradjuri culture was needed. It was further recognised that such a facility in the Dubbo Region could play an important role as part of a hub and spoke approach to drive visitation to public and private owned indigenous tourism product across central and Western NSW.
The community’s vision along with the desire to grow the regional visitor economy strategically aligned with the opportunity to seek funding for a number of proposed capital projects aimed at growing tourism in the region. Following a successful EOI process in September 2018, Council resolved in November 2018 to submit a ‘Destination Dubbo - International Ready’ grant application through the NSW Governments Regional Growth, Environment and Tourism Fund (RGEF) in February 2019.
In October 2019
It was announced that the application was successful in securing $10,147,000 in addition to a Council contribution of $2,536,760 and the NSW Stronger Communities Fund of $900,000 to deliver
- Wiradjuri Tourism Centre and Wiradjuri Garden
- Old Dubbo Gaol Heritage Plaza and Public Art Installation (First Nations Design)
- Macquarie Foreshore Events Precinct
As Council embarked on further community consultation in 2019 and 2020 it was recognised that to achieve the full vision of the local Aboriginal community, the facility would need to be much larger and delivered in a staged approach.