The City of Sydney has just purchased the iconic Redfern Post Office, with plans to turn it into a local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural hub.
The 136-year-old Redfern Post Office is a two-storey heritage-listed building which can be found in the heart of Redfern, an area synonymous with Indigenous activism for rights and self-determination.
On Thursday 1 November, Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that the community had long advocated for a space to gather, share and practice the cultures of the First Peoples of Australia.
“We’ve been searching for an appropriate property for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural space for some time and I’m pleased we’ve secured such an iconic landmark in Redfern,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Since I became Lord Mayor in 2004, the City has worked to put Sydney’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities first – our first public artwork was in Redfern and our first major park upgrade was Redfern Park.”
The Lord Mayor further recognised the unique status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as custodians who nurtured this land for tens of thousands of years and have an immutable connection to Australia and Sydney.
“We’ve long advocated for the State and Federal Governments to commit to an Indigenous cultural centre of national significance and I hope our news today will encourage them to take action,” she commented.
The City’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory panel assisted in the decision to purchase the building, with the panel inspecting the property and providing cultural and community advice on its potential to support the needs of the community.
“Redfern has always been recognised nationwide as the epicentre of the Aboriginal Rights struggle,” commented Former co-chair of the City of Sydney’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, Millie Ingram.
“The Aboriginal people need to always have a visible presence in Redfern. Our history should be on display for all people to learn and know about Aboriginal Australia and its history, before and after 1788. A modern keeping place would serve this purpose,” she added.
The building currently spans 315 square metres over two levels and was recently renovated into commercial offices. Current tenants will remain in the building until mid to late 2019, but during that time, the City has stated that they will continue to support the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to develop a plan for the best use of the property.