Construction on the $200 million Aboriginal Arts and Cultures Centre (AACC) has begun, and its name, ‘Tarrkarri‘, was also unveiled at an event on Tuesday.

The full name, ‘Tarrkarri – Centre for First Nations Cultures‘, was announced by Kaurna Elder Jeffrey Newchurch. In the Kaurna language, Tarrkarri means “the future”, suggesting strong foundations for the Centre and its location on the Adelaide Plains.

The site was selected by the AACC’s Aboriginal Reference Group and was given cultural consent by Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi, and the ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Senior Kaurna custodians, leaders and Elders, in addition to other stakeholders.

Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall described the construction’s commencement as “a special day for South Australians, as we pause and celebrate a point in history where together we’ll create a place of belonging, healing, reconciliation and pride for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”.

The Premier remarked that the world-class facility, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot, will become a leading tourist destination for South Australia; from which jobs will also be created.

Arts and Cities Minister, Paul Fletcher reflected that the AACC has cultural and tourist implications that elevate its importance. “It is one of many important projects being delivered through the Adelaide City Deal, which is a commitment from all three levels of government to deliver community infrastructure that supports jobs, drives economic growth, and enhances the livability and vibrancy of the city,” he said.

Through the Centre’s Aboriginal Economic Participation Strategy, it’s hoped that these opportunities will be aimed at First Nations people throughout the supply chain as the project moves into its construction phase.
Ambassador for AACC and leader of the Aboriginal Reference Group, David Rathman, said the Centre will “showcase Indigenous culture, Country and contemporary expression through education, performance, language, visual arts with access to our wonderful and extensive collections at the South Australian Museum using modern and innovative technologies”.

Lendlease was announced as the lead contractor for the Centre at this project launch. David Paterson, Managing Director, Building, Australia for Lendlease commented that the project holds national significance and said that Lendlease aimed to promote “First Nations leadership” and deliver “shared prosperity… around the country”.

The Centre, set to be open in early 2025 was funded by both the Federal and State governments, and is intended to offer ‘an immersive experience’ of traditional storytelling using modern technologies as a national and international drawcard for an estimated 700,000 visitors a year.

And this is the project that an all-Party Parliamentary Committee – in a recent report: Sculpting a National Cultural Plan: Igniting a post-COVID economy for the arts: Inquiry into Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions – knew nothing about! And that’;s despite recent corrections to their Report.