Indigenous Placemaking in Urban Melbourne: A Dialogue Between a Wurundjeri Elder and a Non-Indigenous Architect and Academic
This chapter explores the particularities of placemaking in the south-eastern Australian capital city, Melbourne. The Wurundjeri peoples have occupied the place for 40,000–60,000 years. Since colonisation by the English in 1834 Wurundjeri’s placemaking practices have been shaped by the histories of colonisation, and ongoing political, economic and legal contingencies, as much as they have by precolonial traditions. Wurundjeri, like most Indigenous peoples around the world, suffer economic and political marginalisation and consequently have limited capacity to use architecture as a means of staking out territory or expressing contemporary social identity. Instead they have used varied contemporary Indigenous placemaking approaches to reclaim place in the city, some that have emerged from traditional Indigenous practices, and others that have developed through encounters with (and in reaction to) colonising forces.
This research was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant: Indigenous Place-making in Central Melbourne: Representations, Practices and Creative Research, 2010–2014. Linkage Partners included the City of Melbourne, The Victorian Traditional Owners Land Justice Group and Reconciliation Victoria. The research team included Janet McGaw, Anoma Pieris and Emeritus Professor Graham Brawn, from the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, and Emily Potter, from Deakin University’s School of Communication & Creative Arts.
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