About Bangerang

 

…………..A place to reflect


Upon entry to the beautiful building visitors will enter a virtual ‘portal’ of time where they will view four magnificent dioramas vividly illustrated by artist George Browning that depict trade, food gathering and cultural gatherings.  Famous for his work as a wartime artist, George also did some conservation work on other dioramas at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.  He was awarded and Order of Australia in 1985.  A supportive letter for his nomination from the then Mayor of Shepparton indicates that his work at the Bangerang Cultural Centre was well, and widely, appreciated. 

As well as seeing the sublime dioramas (see picture) there are exquisite artifacts and artworks to view.  There are two beautiful ceramic murals by Thancopie, who is one of the first Aboriginal artists to combine ceramics with traditional Aboriginal imagery.

The Bangerang Cultural Centre is open for the casual visitor, school groups, bus tours and organizations.  Activities may include a guided tour, artifact presentations, music and dance.  Groups need to book in advance for all guided tours to enable us to give that personal touch.

Background


On the 14th March, 1974 the Hon Murray Byrne, the State Minister of Tourism officially launched the International Village project that would address the lack of tourist attractions in Shepparton.  The former Shepparton Aboriginal Art Council now currently known as the Bangerang Cultural Centre was asked to join with several other cultural groups to participate in the project.  The Aboriginal community, lead by local Elder, John (Sandy) Atkinson, pursed an ambitious program for the site – a museum/keeping place for artifacts and artworks to be displayed as well as a centre for educating visitors about the cultural heritage of the local Aboriginal people.  Just like the Bangerang Cultural Centre, many Aboriginal museums throughout the world have been critically important in gaining insights into the cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples.  Engaging local communities in the management of a place is a means of both encouraging and reinforcing a sense of community ownership and pride, while fostering the significance of learning in a nurturing friendly environment. 

Our Mission Statement


To provide an Aboriginal interpretive centre that will educate persons of all ages, backgrounds, physical abilities and cultures and inspire them to explore and discover Aboriginal culture in a creative, safe, environment, where learning is fun.

History 


The Bangerang Cultural Centre is located at the south-eastern corner of the Parkside Gardens, formerly the Shepparton International Village.  It was set up in 1982 as a joint venture involving the former Shepparton Aboriginal Arts Council Co-operative and the Shepparton City Council.  It was designed by famous Victorian architect Fredrick Romberg who asked John (Sandy) Atkinson to sketch some ideas for the building.  John thought a circular plan would have appropriate resonances with traditional Aboriginal culture and so prepared a drawing by tracing around a 45 rpm record.  Using John’s concept Romberg designed an octagonal building encircled by a colonnade of tree poles.  Its historical and current importance has been recognized by the recent inclusion of the Centre on the Victorian Heritage Register.

It was the first Aboriginal cultural centre located outside of a capitol city and reflected an important phase in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations and early attempts at reconciliation. 

Its association with the innovative architect Fredrick Romberg, John Sandy Atkinson, OAM, an Elder of the Bangerang people and the key instigator of the scheme, with notable artist, George Browning, AM, a specialist diorama maker and Sir Douglas Nicholls, OBE (19906-88), who planted the first tree at the site in a ceremony during 1976 reflects the historical importance, association with and relationship to Victoria’s cultural heritage.