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Community Catch-up at the BNI - 27 May

We invite Dharug community members to join with us on site to get an update and provide feedback on our efforts, our plans and our next steps into the future.

RSVP for catering by 5pm Monday May 22nd to

Since the return of the BNI site to Dharug care in 2018 Dharug Strategic Management Group Ltd has been working to secure and care for it as a place of healing, learning and security for Dharug people. We have applied for funds, supported a number of projects and worked with GML Heritage to finalise the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the Blacktown Native Institution site.

With support from funds provided by Dr Jo Rey through Macquarie University, the ongoing support of GML though funds provided by Heritage NSW, we invite community to join us on site at the BNI for a picnic that will review where things stand as we celebrate the 5th anniversary of the site’s return to Dharug care and commemorate the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Institution on the site in 1823.

We have built some strong partnerships, developed the foundations of a Dharug-focused CMP and faced the setbacks of not getting some key grants to support our work. We have identified the installation of off-grid facilities on-site (toilet, storage, shelter) to support workshops and use of this beautiful and important place as our key priority going forward as the absence of basic facilities makes every step we try to take harder (and more expensive) than it should be. In building a strong, Dharug-focused CMP for the site, we will not only emphasise the BNI’s important place in the Dharug cultural landscape and in strong Dharug futures that reflect the area’s long Dharug history, but also lay foundations for external funding towards the community aspiration for a Dharug Centre on the site.

Our community picnic and meeting is part of this process. Dr Tim Owen (GML) and Dr Charlotte Feakins (Sydney Uni) and Dr Jo Rey (Macquarie Uni and DSMG Director (2018-2021)) will update community on their work and will welcome further Dharug community contributions and input to those projects, so please share anything you think is important such as stories, photographs, poetry, and other materials to ensure the Final CMP and Jo’s work produce insights, recognition and understanding that helps DSMG to heal Ngura and yura at this important place.

11.00 Arrival, tea and coffee

11.30 Welcome and Smoking

12.00 Picnic Lunch (light lunch catered, but please feel free to bring your own)

1.00 DSMG Update update from Board, GML update on the CMP, Jo Rey update on her work

2.00 Yarning Circle for community comments, ideas and questions

3.00 Next steps, thanks and farewell

What to bring

DSMG will provide toilet, seating and marquee for shelter along with tea & coffee and light lunch. Please bring along your memories and memorabilia and your ideas for healing Ngura and yura at the BNI. It might be cold, so bring blankets too.

What to expect

All DSMG Directors take our responsibility to Dharug Culture, Country, and Community seriously. For this reason, we ask that everybody attends this event in good spirit, that they respect the spirit of the site and act in ways that enhance cultural safety, healing and caring throughout the meeting. We will start with a smoking ceremony to bring harmony and unity as our starting point for this event.

WET WEATHER OPTION: In wet weather, the site is at risk of being damaged by vehicles. Therefore, if there is wet weather on the day or leading up to the event we may be required to postpone to a date to be announced in early- to mid-June. We will announce any postponement on our website and by emailing or text messaging everyone who provides an RSVP

RSVP for catering by 5pm Monday May 22nd to


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