A long-held vision will become reality with the announcement of $270,000 in funding to expand the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre and make it the start of the Somewhere Down the Lachlan Sculpture trail.
The upgrade will include nine new sculptures, a new amphitheatre, 200 additional trees and native species, and a building to display Wiradjuri artefacts and host workshops on painting, music and weaving.
The Dreaming Centre’s Aileen Allen could hardly find words to express her thrill at Friday’s funding announcement by Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant.
Art Society president Keith Mullette said the project would unfold over the next two years, with a good deal of planning in the next 12 months.
“We are working with the local Aboriginal community to expand the Dreaming Centre and develop a program that will capture a culture that is rapidly being lost,” he said.
The project will not only create an educational tool but a tourist attraction as the starting point for the Somewhere Down the Lachlan sculpture trail, Mr Mullette said.
Mrs Allen said she was incredibly appreciative of the work done by the Forbes Art Society to recognise and preserve Aboriginal culture – and urged everyone to make good use of the Centre.
“This is going to give this generation an idea of what the Aboriginal culture is all about,” she said.
“They have given the Aboriginal people recognition.
“The people in (the art society) have worked so hard for this – I want everybody to appreciate what they’re going to do, come and learn.
“Come and look at the sculptures and learn what they mean.”
Mr Grant joined Nationals candidate for Orange Scott Barrett to announce the funding under the ClubGRANTS Category 3 scheme for art and culture infrastructure.
“This development will help to reinvigorate the area around Lake Forbes, particularly as the town recovers from the recent floods,” Mr Grant said.
“This facility is the only one of its kind in the region actively promoting the Wiradjuri culture primarily through sculpture, regular workshops, cultural activities and open days.”