Olkola Cultural Knowledge Centre project receives funding from Queensland Government

The Queensland Government have released the outcomes of their Growing Indigenous Tourism in Queensland Fund, with the Olkola Cultural Knowledge Centre announced as a category 2 successful applicant.

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Uw Olkol Language 
Mumpul Olkol-arrgi irryidgam arrdapuur arling ampul Olkol arrgi-irrkun.
English Translation 
We all gotta go back home to our country, we are Olkola People.”
– Olkola Knowledge Holder, Uncle Jack Lowdown, December 2020.

Facilitated and coordinated by Dr Hannah Robertson in close partnership and collaboration with the Olkola Traditional Owners, Centre for Appropriate Technology, Monash University and a large group of volunteers, the project looks to provide a multi-dimensional tourism product by building a Cultural Knowledge Centre on Olkola country in central Cape York. The Centre will be the first of its kind in Australia, offer a unique and culturally significant tourism experience and act as a gateway to Cape York.

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“This funding will see us establish services and build a prototype of our innovative and sustainable rammed earth and locally milled timber cultural knowledge centre that includes cooking and ablutions facilities and a large communal viewing platform over Sandy Creek Lagoon. These facilities will help build Olkola's cultural tourism offerings and support further land management research and work. We are incredibly excited to share this exciting news and to take this next step forward in our partnership” said Dr Robertson.

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The Centre will look to provide significant innovation through a new building typology that acts as a catalyst for creating sustainable livelihoods on Country by combining cultural and economic functions with sustainable construction practices that provide appropriate infrastructure.

The centre will:

  • offer the opportunity to repatriate and display Olkola archives and artefacts on Country (enabling opportunities to engage drive up day visitors);
  • provide tourism accommodation amenity for multi-day cultural tours (through cooking and bathroom facilities); and
  • house a purpose-built ranger base and remote scientific research campus that can support the continuation and expansion of Olkola’s innovative biodiversity and land management work, which combines the best of traditional cultural and contemporary scientific knowledge.

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“[We want to] use the centre for all projects- recording knowledge and collecting information of the Country and our culture. [We want to] use all the knowledge we can get of our landscape to manage Country. Putting together scientific information and cultural knowledge. We can do a lot in a centre based on Country, [because] you’re not talking about your Country, you’re on Country.”
Uncle Mike Ross, Olkola Traditional Owner and Elder

Using participatory, place-based, self-building and appropriate technology methodologies and theories, the Olkola Traditional Owners have collaborated with architecture and engineering students to develop conceptual and engineering designs, development applications and construction guides for the project.

The prototype structure is projected to be completed by 21 September 2021 with practical assistance from Construction, Architecture and Engineering students.

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