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What is the Pemulwuy Project?

Many references are made these days to the Pemulwuy Project. For those who haven't access to its website, here is a summary of the plans which was published in the South Sydney Herald September 2005.

The Vision

The vision is not to simply replace the buildings on the 'Block' but to restore a strong and healthy Indigenous community to Redfern with an emphasis on tradition, cultural values and spirituality. At the end of this process of rebirth we envisage a result that all Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians will be proud of.

The Name

The working title of the project is "The Pemulwuy Project". The name was chosen because Pemulwuy in the Bidjigal (Sydney) language means Earth. Pemulwuy was also the name of the famous Bidjigal/Gadigal tribal warrior who fought for the survival of his people during Australia's invasion by the English settlers.

Reconciliation and Social Harmony

In a deliberate move to counter the 'no-go' reputation of the Block, the community advocated opening up the Block to scrutiny and extending a welcome to groups and individuals to mix and interact with the Aboriginal community. In response to community needs, the RED Square development option is being investigated in terms of creating a welcoming entrance to the Block.

Appropriate and Affordable Housing

After significant research, the proposed housing will be stepped housing and garden terraces that enjoy a northern aspect and spectacular views of Sydney City are considered to satisfy the community's ideal of an equal capacity for outdoor and indoor living spaces. The new homes will have three and four bedrooms and an outdoor garden area equal to the floor area of the house, to accommodate the indoor/outdoor lifestyle preferred by Aboriginal people. Accommodation will be grouped into five dwellings with common access ways will promote greater social contact and encourage community building and shared responsibility. The Aboriginal Housing Company will pursue a planned social mix of middle, low-middle and low-income Aboriginal residents who have an existing relationship with Redfern through work or family.

Culturally Appropriate Service, Commercial and Facility Needs

The Project proposes supporting services including a hostel catering for country visitors and Aboriginal students, a new Elouera Gym for exercise and sport and resources for greater coordination of local service providers. There will be a Business Training Centre and space for people to begin small businesses as well as retail outlets and spaces for art and historical exhibitions. A feasibility study is underway for Aboriginal Art and Craft Markets to be held in Red Square.

Community Safety

Homes will overlook public places and a landscaped billabong and spiritual place will have adjacent live-in caretakers. Discreet lighting at corners and entries together with sensors         will also be utilised in the design and work in tandem with community monitored closed circuit television. The final master plan will discourage lanes and alleyways which are existing high crime locations.

Training and Employment Programs

Employment programs, for local Aboriginal youth in particular, will feature prominently throughout the construction period of the Project. Some of the long-term employment opportunities will include: gardening, care-taking, security work, and public arts and crafts.

Ecology and Environment

The housing design incorporates passive solar conditions with access to light and ventilation on three sides together with generous shade and sunny outdoor rooms. Rainwater will be collected for gardening at every level and sensible use of Indigenous plant species will be encouraged. There is a commitment to large gardens for every home, with bush plants to support bird life which will inspire outdoor living and gardening.