New Darebin Intercultural Centre
The Darebin Intercultural Centre is many things to our community: a safe and positive meeting place where Darebin’s rich cultural heritage is celebrated, a talking space where community members’ voices are heard in conversations on Darebin’s future, and a location many of Darebin’s multicultural residents identify as being theirs because of its inclusive and progressive nature. Hosting events every month, from cultural programs and celebrations to workshops, film days, forums and panel discussions, Darebin Intercultural Centre is an important hub for Darebin’s diverse community.
Recognising its valuable role, Council decided in December 2019 to relocate the Centre from its current position at the former Preston Courthouse to the municipal buildings on the corner of High and Gower streets in Preston, making it a central and visible expression of Council’s commitment to a vibrant, respectful and connected community. The handing over of the Centre itself will mark a significant moment of Council handing part of this colonial structure back to the community, for the community.
Community consultation for the relocation was carried out from November 2020 to March 2021 with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation (Wurundjeri) and a Community Reference Group, who provided advice to the architect on the Centre’s key design elements. The Community Reference Group members, who included eight community representatives with a strong understanding of and connection with culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Darebin, were tasked with helping Council ensure the relocated Centre will be welcoming, inclusive, culturally safe and fit-for-purpose for Darebin's many diverse communities.
Before ground was broken at the site of the new Intercultural Centre, Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Ringo held a smoking ceremony to cleanse the space and promote the wellbeing of Wurundjeri peoples and guests on Country. This marked an important milestone for the project, a significant moment where Uncle Ringo, as an Elder and Traditional Owner of the land, cleansed and blessed the space in readiness for the community to breathe new life into it with a sense of belonging, cultural safety and welcome.
A short-term Programming Think Tank also met seven times between October 2021 and June 2022 to help shape the Centre’s renewed Vision, Mission and Programming Framework. The think tank members, which included 13 community representatives with a solid understanding of interculturalism, was decided through a targeted Expression of Interest process to ensure Darebin’s key priority partners were represented.
Where are we now?
Construction of the relocated Centre, which began in early April, is due to be completed in late 2022, with the Centre expected to welcome community members early next year.
As part of our vision for shared-use spaces that reflect our commitment to community partnerships, inclusion and connection, the new Darebin Intercultural Centre will be a dedicated space for intercultural development, dialogue, engagement, participation and celebration, while offering improved accessibility, security and information technology to Darebin’s community and staff.
We can’t wait for it to open and for a new chapter of the Darebin Intercultural Centre to begin. For more information on the history of this project, visit The Future of Darebin's Intercultural Centre | Your Say Darebin