AN open amphitheatre, artefacts and art display area, an area for elders, a “welcome and yarning area” and a base for cultural tourism are included in a conceptual plan for Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association’s headquarters at Hastings.
The Gathering Place, in Pound Road, is where members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community meet to explore identity and cultural heritage.
However, with the Mornington Peninsula regarded as one of the fastest growing Aboriginal areas in Victoria, with a 34 per cent increase, especially in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people under 30, more space is needed.
Mornington Peninsula Shire says projections show that in five years Willum Warrain will attract more than 10,000 visitors a year and membership will increase to 3000.
The shire, in partnership with Jaffe Consulting and Peter Wright Architects, has created the master plan to develop a vision of what can be achieved there to cope with the increase.
The plan also includes ways to expand the wetlands at Warringine Park for a wildlife corridor, an outdoor men’s shed area and a carport for community buses.
The community hub in Pound Road will include a cafe, kitchen, bush nursery, shop and vegetable garden. Cultural events, tours and “on country” experiences are also part of the vision.
“The master plan sets the vision and direction for a renewed Gathering Place. Cultural opportunities will be created which will allow the rekindling of cultural practices and traditional knowledge. This is vital for Willum Warrain as the area grows,” the mayor Cr Despi O’Connor said.
Cr Kerri McCafferty, a member of the Inter Council Aboriginal Consultative Committee, saw the design concepts as offering “amazing opportunities to engage with our First Nations people and culture and support them into the future”.
The shire says Willum Warrain employs more Aboriginal people than any other entity on the peninsula and is regarded as a “channel for reconciliation”.
It said First Nations People “know the importance of maintaining and strengthening the spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or occupied and used lands and waters, to uphold their responsibilities to country, ancestors, community, and future generations”.
Public feedback on the Willum Warrain master plan closes Tuesday 22 June. Visit: mornpen.vic.gov.au/willumwarrainmasterplan
Hard copy forms are available at the shire’s customer service centres.