Tiagarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Museum

Tiagarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Museum is at Mersey Bluff near Devonport in Tasmania. Mersey Bluff is the site of ancient and precious rock art. It has attracted tourists for years, and continues to be very popular.

The Centre was built by the Devonport City Council in 1976. A visiting UNESCO expert advised that the site had international importance and should be protected.

The Mersey Leven Aboriginal Corporation formed in 1991. The local Aboriginal people lobbied to re-establish their relationship with the site and operate the Centre. They put a lot of effort into negotiating, networking, and writing letters and funding applications. They studied the tourist trade and business and finance management.

Devonport City Council granted the Mersey Leven Aboriginal Corporation a 20 year lease on Tiagarra on 6 June 1995. DEETYA provided funding for on-the-job training and ATSIC also gave financial support. This funding has helped to make Tiagarra more commercially viable.

Devonport Council continues to support the Centre and Museum by maintaining the buildings, and fitting a gas heater and new roof. They are helping with other infrastructure. They have also promised to underwrite losses for a specified period.

Devonport City Council's decision to hand over Tiagarra to the Mersey Leven Corporation has strengthened relationships between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people of the area.

Tiagarra is a cultural heritage business that provides jobs. It has given the local Aboriginal people pride in their history and culture, and confidence in sharing it with visitors. They have control of their ancient art site and now provide a more rich experience for visitors.

Source:

Australian Reconciliation Convention (1997) State/Territory Award Certificate

Tiagarra Aboriginal Culture Centre and Museum (TAS)- respecting antiquity [Online] Available: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/IndigLRes (17 Oct. 2001)