Keeping place preserves culture

In Moree Plains Shire Council, the Dhiiyaan Aboriginal Centre, which holds one of New South Wales’ largest collections of Aboriginal family records, has reopened its doors.

The centre recently reopened after undergoing Stage One of a total $750,000 State Government refurbishment.

Centre Manager Kylie Benge explained the Gamilaroi keeping place showcases the living culture of Australia’s first people to the next generation.

“We get requests from across Australia to locate information about family members and it is heart-warming to be able to provide a service to the community that connects people to each other and their past.”

With over 100,000 artefacts and documents in its collection, the Dhiiyaan Aboriginal Centre can now showcase and store the huge repository of Aboriginal heritage so that everyone can learn about the culture and history of the traditional owners of the Gamilaroi land.

“Just recently, we were able to sift through our archives and piece together the life of a deceased gentleman for a eulogy – even though this was a very sorrowful event, the information brought immense peace to his family in Melbourne,” she said.

Dhiiyaan Aboriginal Centre’s new community space with a multimedia room, new common gathering space, new offices and gallery, new carpets, painting and furniture, will be able to provide enhanced services to school and tour groups.

Accessibility issues were also addressed with new ramp, upgrades to amenities and facilities for those with disabilities.

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said, “These renovations have cemented Dhiiyaan’s position as the preeminent Aboriginal cultural centre in NSW and I’m delighted the NSW Government has been able to partner with Moree Plains Shire Council to deliver this upgrade, which is a fantastic outcome for Moree and the Kamilaroi and Gamilaraay people.

Almost $500,000 was provided by the NSW Government for the Stage One upgrade of the centre with another $208,000 announced recently by Mr Marshall for Stage Two, which will get underway early next year.