The City of Sydney has cemented the Indigenous link with inner-city Redfern by acquiring the former post office for future use as a cultural centre.
The $5.3 million purchase was finalised this week and the exact use of the space is yet to be determined.
Making the announcement on Wednesday, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the council had been searching for an appropriate property for a cultural space “for some time”.
“For 60,000 years before the Commonwealth of Australia was established the Gadigal people looked after this place,” she said.
“This cultural hub will be in the heart of Redfern which has long been an incredibly important place for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
The 136-year-old building is approximately 500m from the Block and Redfern Park. The existing tenants will remain until mid to late 2019, allowing time to determine how the building will be used.
The council has indicated that it will consult with the community and its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel.
Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, a Gadigal Dharawal woman who serves on the advisory panel, hopes the centre will offer new opportunities for the community.
“I’m hoping that it’s used for training for Aboriginal people in business and who are involved in arts and culture and healing,” she said.
“Here’s a comeback for us, to think alright, maybe this is going to be something to build us up and for the young people to look forward to and to think oh we have a future.”
Aunty Millie Ingram, a Wiradjuri woman who runs the Wyanga aged-care program in Redfern, said the centre could also educate the community about Indigenous history.
“We definitely need this hub here,” she said.
“We want our fellow Australians to know about our Aboriginal culture before and after 1788.”
“I am so proud to be associated with this.”