The federal government has announced a commitment to establish ‘Ngurra’, a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural precinct in the heart of Canberra, as well as a design competition for the precinct and the structures within it.

Ngurra proposed site

The precinct will will provide a national resting place to house and care for repatriated ancestral remains and any associated cultural material on their journey back to Country, and will feature a learning and knowledge centre where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia can tell its own stories and celebrate the 65,000-year history of this nation.

This centre will also provide a purpose-built home for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Established by parliament in 1964, it is an Indigenous-led national institute that houses a collection of more than one million items encompassing films, photographs, audio recordings, art and objects, printed and other resource materials.

The name of the precinct, ‘Ngurra’, appears in many different Aboriginal languages around Australia and refers variously...