City precinct will honour traditional landowners

April 15, 2021 BY

From left: City of Greater Geelong CEO Martin Cutter, Mayor Stephanie Asher, Wadawurrung woman Mary Shuttleworth, Quintessential Equity CEO Russell Bullen and Wadawurrung woman Corrina Eccles at the site blessing of Geelong's new Civic Precinct in December. Photo: Supplied.

THE City of Greater Geelong’s new civic precinct is set to honour Wadawurrung culture by taking on the name Wurriki Nyal (WUU-ruh-kih nee-YAHL) meaning ‘speak and talk together’.

Wadawurrung woman, Corrina Eccles, said the level of collaboration between Traditional Owners and the precinct’s project team was unprecedented.

“This is the first time in the Geelong region that a major project has had such a depth of collaborative engagement with our People into construction, design, story, place and language,” Ms Eccles said.

The new precinct will include city offices, surrounding community spaces and a proposed second building announced by developer partner Quintessential Equity that will be called ‘Ngytan Koriayo’ (nee-YAHT-ern Kohr-ri-AY-yoh) meaning ‘look over the water and see all around Corio Bay’.

Both the city and Quintessential Equity worked closely with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners during the process and were granted this special use of Wadawurrung language.

Mayor Stephanie Asher said the tribute emphasised the importance of community dialogue and engagement in civic life.

“Wurriki Nyal is a name that celebrates Greater Geelong’s strong Aboriginal heritage and symbolises our hopes for the future,” she said.

“It is a wonderfully fitting name and a reminder that lively, respectful community discourse is at the heart of everything we do as a council.

“We hope the community will embrace the new name and the celebration of community spirit and togetherness it represents.”

Quintessential Equity executive chairman Shane Quinn said he was proud of collaboration with Traditional Owners.

“We are delighted to have worked with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners to ensure that their legacy lives on and endures through this precinct,” Mr Quinn said.

“There’s knowledge built up over thousands of years which we hope will be reflected in this project – from its name, the design and what it represents.

“At every possible stage this project celebrates all things local, and we hope the naming of the precinct will act as a reminder to the community to take a moment to honour Aboriginal peoples’ ongoing connection to the land.”

The precinct will further incorporate traditional yarning circles at the heart of the public space with the Wadawurrung name ‘Gayoopanyoon Goompa’ (gye-OO-pahn-yoon GOOP-mah), meaning ‘gather’ often used on country as places of ceremonial business, gathering and celebration.

Construction on the new precinct and community space is anticipated to be finalised by mid-2022.

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