BEGINNINGS – Exploring First Peoples’ Architecture in a Cultural Immersion Event

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The Regional Architecture Association (RAA), dedicated to architects practicing outside major Australian cities, is embarking on a transformative journey that promises to deepen our understanding of First Nations’ design and building practices. BEGINNINGS – First Peoples’ Architecture is set to be an immersive experience like no other, inviting attendees to explore the rich cultural heritage of Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

Scheduled for October 19-21, 2023, the event will take place in Coolendel, nestled on the shores of the Shoalhaven River. This location holds profound significance as a central meeting point for communities along the South Coast, making it an ideal backdrop for this exploration of First Peoples’ architecture.

At BEGINNINGS, Australia’s design and architecture community will have a unique opportunity to engage in a profound cultural experience guided by families and elders deeply connected to Coolendel. Participants will actively collaborate with traditional custodians, building structures and engaging in cultural practices. The event promises a weekend filled with enriching activities, including Welcome to Country ceremonies, Corroboree dances, Yarning Circles for storytelling, bush tucker tastings, hands-on workshops, discussions with Elders, camping under the stars, campfires, and even a refreshing plunge into the Shoalhaven River.

The creative minds behind this event, Renee McGuinn of MAAD Studio and Wesley Hindmarch of Local Architect South Coast, are collaborating with Raymond Timbery of Ghadungal Marring, Dharrawal Traditional Custodians known for their cultural programs and experiences on Dharrawal Dhurga land.

Ghadungal Marring is uniquely qualified to address the continuing professional development (CPD) competencies related to Indigenous knowledge now required by architects. Dharrawal Yuin Raymond Timbery and esteemed elders, including Uncle Steve, Uncle PC, Uncle Paul, Aunty Lauren, and Aunty Nat, will lead workshops, sharing their knowledge as custodians of the Dharawal. Raymond will provide insights through a Welcome to Country and an explanation of Coolendel’s local significance as a gathering place and vital source of food. The Uncles will share insights on crafting gunyas (traditional homes made from wood or bark) and fish traps, while the Aunties will guide traditional weaving workshops.

Renowned furniture designer Trent Jansen will also be part of the event, discussing his practice and his deep respect for cultural heritage, often seen in his collaborations with Indigenous creators.

The event’s culmination will be a thought-provoking panel discussion covering continuity of use, heritage, and place. It will delve into places of knowledge sharing on Country and their relevance to the Burra Charter, as well as contemporary considerations of heritage. Ngamba Elder Uncle Paul Gordon and heritage architect Noel Thomson will provide context, joined by architect Lee Hillam and Dharrawal Yuin Raymond Timbery.

BEGINNINGS – First Peoples’ Architecture aims to establish lasting connections between Country, architecture, and heritage, paving the way for a more connected architectural future. This immersive experience promises to bridge the gap between Indigenous culture, our understanding of heritage, and how we incorporate these insights into architectural practice.

Event Details:

Event: BEGINNINGS – First Peoples’ Architecture | A Regional Architecture Association Experience

Date: 19-21 October 2023

Location: Coolendel Camp, 1100 Grassy Gully Rd Buangla NSW, 40 minutes west of Nowra on the shores of the Shoalhaven River.

NICC = National Indigenous Cultural Centre – works with Walkabout Australia – we give you indigenous products, indigenous music, aboriginal art – news (we are your indigenous home… (IF you want bush tucker food at your next event / if you want indigenous entertainment at your party / expo / conference; if you want an indigenous gift shop / if you want walkabout australia merchandise = contact us… = (AND =

IF you want some indigenous food at your event, expo, conference / party = do you want indigenous / aboriginal entertainment at your function – digeridoo, or indigenous dance, aboriginal gift shop OR = we can tailor a solution for your event (for a few hours or a few days / in a regional town of in the major conference centre. What indigenous food, music, fashion, gift shop – what aboriginal theme do you seek?…

Best / Tony

Tony Clemenger

Chief Executive Officer

0419 431 649

1800 995 007

Level 1 397 Chapel Street South Yarra 3141


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