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Murrook Culture Centre snares top gong at 2024 Heritage Awards

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In a coup for the Port Stephens LGA, the Murrook Culture Centre snared the top gong at the 2024 National Trust (NSW) Heritage Awards.

The 30th annual edition of the event saw a total of 19 projects recognised for outstanding practice and excellence in conservation of Aboriginal, built, natural and cultural heritage.

And, the Williamtown facility won the Aboriginal Heritage category.

A partnership between Art of Multimedia and Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council (WLALC), the recently-completed Murrook Culture Centre’s immersive digital interpretation was spotlighted by the judging panel, led by Matthew Devine, chair of the National Trust Heritage Awards Jury.

“It’s a very impressive and important self-funded project located right on the tourist trail,” he said.

“Strong local engagement and innovative use of technology has resulted in a truly immersive experience that allows Aboriginal people to tell their own stories.”

A community-led, cutting-edge digital interpretation where Elders personally welcome visitors and share intimate family tales and Worimi history, the bespoke and permanent exhibition captures Country in its splendour, while showcasing Worimi culture and Gathang language.

WLALC CEO Andrew Smith was thrilled with the accolade.

“Our culture is living… and what is living?” he said.

“Living is movement, evolution, change by design.

“So, now we can call ourselves Abodigitals instead of Aboriginals.”

NSW Minister for Heritage Penny Sharpe commended the winners for their dedication to conserving and promoting heritage in the state.

“These projects are vital in ensuring our special places and stories are enjoyed for generations to come,” she said.

Patricia Laurie and Steven Meredith, co-chairs of the NSW Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee, also highlighted the authenticity of several ventures.

“From the city to the regions, communities right across the state will benefit immensely from the efforts of this year’s award winners,” Heritage NSW’s executive director Sam Kidman added.

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