The now completed park provides recreation facilities for students and staff, recognises the contribution of University of NSW (UNSW) alumni as well as embrace the history of the land and the Bidjigal people.
Michael Hromek, WSP’s Technical Executive – Indigenous (Architecture) was brought in early in the development of the project as the university wanted to have a strong connection to the traditional custodians of the land and the history of the site.
“We did a document outlining community and Country research on the Bidjigal people, culture, heritage, patterns and symbols, and contemporary knowledge to get a cultural understanding of the site.
“This guide also shows possibilities on incorporating Indigenous design principles and making sure it is Aboriginal led.
“With the assistance of Nura Gili (the UNSW Centre for Indigenous Programs), Worimi woman, Elizabeth Mayer and members of UNSW, we held a series of ‘digital yarns’ with the key members of Bidjigal Aboriginal community and the project design delivery team in early 2020.”
These meetings allowed for the process to be Aboriginal led, community involved and the process to be appropriately designed. On Country meetings with key community stakeholders allowed for conversations in relation to potential theming and appropriate cultural outcomes within the project.
The result was incorporating traditional carvings and totems into the stairs to reflect how the area would have likely been used by the Bidjigal people.
“Based on our discussions, the UNSW site was likely a hunting ground as it was mostly sand dunes and scrub land providing shelter for kangaroos coming from the grasslands in what is now Moore Park,” Michael says.
“The artwork uses line work to reflect Sydney’s Aboriginal design language, as seen on the magnificent examples shields and many petroglyphs carved into the sandstone.
“The steps provide a unique and welcoming spaces for the community and students to relax, socialise and learn About Aboriginal Country,” Michael concludes.
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Artwork credit: Guruwaal 2021 engraving in concrete paving, counter-relief on wooden bleachers
Uncle Greg Simms (Gadigal/Dharug), with guidance by Aunty Marjorie Dixon (Bidjigal) and Uncle Assen Timbery (Bidjigal) and interpretations by Danièle Hromek (Budawang/Yuin) and Samantha Rich (Wiradjuri).
Architect: McGregor Westlake Architecture