Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre

Background and History

The first submission for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre in Townsville was drawn up in anticipation of bicentennial and other funding options 1985.

In 1999 an announcement was made that $3 million would be allocated under the Queensland Heritage Trails Network (QHTN) initiative for a North Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre.

A strategic plan was commissioned in November 1999 and was finalised in July 2001, which proposed a centre to display the cultural history, traditions and lifestyles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

There were a number of sites proposed over the years and a range of different options and configurations. The Centre was originally planned for a site known as Dean Park in Townsville, which offered the possibility of having a combination of indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Following an inability to obtain suitable ownership and tenure of the Dean Park site, the Cultural Centre – Townsville building in Flinders Street East was chosen. The centre is centrally located between the Museum of Tropical Queensland (MTQ) and Reef HQ.

The Centre was setup to provide the following important features and activities:

Interpretive area to showcase various aspects of the life and history of the various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities
Performances by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance troupes
Retail shop selling souvenirs, artifacts and contemporary art by local and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists
A proposed restaurant and coffee shop
Demonstrations of cultural activities, including weaving, painting, music, dance, and story telling.
A 50 year leasehold contract for the Cultural Centre complex was signed in December 2002.

The Cultural Centre was officially opened in September 2005.