Bondi View

Bondi Pavilion restoration investigated as keeping place for Aboriginal artefacts

Bondi Pavilion is currently being restored. Upgrades were redirected in 2019 toward community focus after backlash to original plans for privatisation. Photo: Wikimedia.


Waverley Council is investigating the feasibility of a keeping place for local Aboriginal artefacts at the Bondi Pavilion.

Aboriginal Greens councillor Dominic WY Kanak put the motion to Council last month.

A spokesperson for the Council said the keeping place will celebrate aspects of ancient and modern Aboriginal culture, heritage and cultural artefacts specific to the Bondi and Eastern Suburbs area, such as Bondi points, a type of distinctive stone tool or blade.

Given the harsh climatic conditions of the Pavilion, Council officers are currently consulting with the museums and galleries sector to determine the requirements for physical display.

If it is not feasible to physically house and display Bondi points and other relevant artefacts at Bondi Pavilion, those artefacts will be displayed and explained through the Bondi Story Room.

The Bondi Story Room is an interactive digital exhibition designed to share and celebrate the many stories of the local community through a virtual experience.

Waverley Council reshaped plans to restore the Bondi Pavilion in 2019, after the original plans received backlash over suspicions parts of the Pavilion would be privatised.

Community content

FOBP hope the Pavilion becomes a 21st century community cultural centre. Photo: Wikimedia.

Friends of Bondi Pavilion convener Eliane Morel said FOBP have always supported the recognition of Aboriginal custodians of the land and the ongoing history of Aboriginal people in Bondi.

The Pavilion’s Aboriginal floor mosaic is the first example of an Aboriginal mosaic in Australia and is being retained in situ following concerns about its future during the restoration works.

The artist is Yolngu Elder and Warramiri Tribal Chief Terry Yumbulul from the Northern Territory.

“It should definitely remain,” Morel told City Hub, “but on top of that there needs to be recognition of the connection with this area of First Nations people.”

Overall FOBP are happy with the direction that Council is taking to emphasise the Bondi Pavilion as a cultural community centre.

“We want them to maintain that and keep that focus so that it doesn’t become moribund as it had previously.

“It’s really important to keep putting that focus into the Pavilion once it opens and to ensure that it can keep going into the future and become a fantastic 21st century community cultural centre.”

She added that the FOBP want to see a reimagined amphitheatre. The heritage council decided the amphitheatre was an intrusive object and it was removed.

“We argued that it was still culturally significant because people need to be able to perform outdoors, especially with COVID, we need to future proof so people can have outdoor performance spaces.”

Construction will be complete in early 2022 with the building opening by mid 2022.

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