8 April, 2022
The Meeting Place
The Joy Trudgett Gallery and ‘The Meeting Place’, has recently received over $300,000 in funding in support of the project.
The Joy Trudgett Gallery and The Meeting Place
will be part of the Coo-ee Heritage Centre, situated on
the Newell Highway towards Dubbo.
The gallery will
include a living museum, celebrating the achievements
of the Gilgandra Aboriginal community, as well as a
reflection on the history, community art, and artifacts.
Aboriginal community member Gail Naden, is excited
for the gallery and its potential to reflect the communities
“I think the precinct will be good at retelling
Aboriginal stories, and what we address on a day-to-day
basis,” said Gail.
The gallery will include a wall acknowledging
Aboriginal community members, who have made significant
achievements in recent history.
“It will be a place where we can actually see the living
history, and a place of recognition. It’s lovely that
there will be an update of the precinct so that it is relevant
to the community of today.”
The Meeting Place will include a yarn circle, fire pit,
bush tucker garden, and educational space, to encourage
people from all over to meet in Gilgandra and learn
about it’s indigenous history.
Gail explained that Gilgandra is made up of three
different Aboriginal communities, the Wiradjuri,
Kamilaroi and Wailwan nations. Hence the idea of “The
Meeting Place” within the heritage centre, came about.
“It’s where communities are connected, and it will
always be a continuous meeting place. This precinct
will highlight what Gilgandra has, and what the people
along the Castlereagh have contributed to this community.
There’s a lot of nations within this community,
whether it’s Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal.
“Having this precinct in the community will highlight
the fact that there are Aboriginal people who have
living memories of those people and their descendants
within this community. It will be a positive thing in the
Aboriginal community, and for people to acknowledge
that there are people in this town that have grown the
town as well,” said Gail.
“There’s been a lot of transition
over this period of time, people come and go, but
Aboriginal people will always be part of this land
because this is who we are.”
The Joy Trudgett Gallery concept ideas and plans
have been created in consultation with the Aboriginal
community, and due to this, Gail believes it will have a
“It will be more evident of another generation of
people, even though there are people who have passed,
there will be another generation of people who are coming
through and who are working in the community.
“It sounds like there are people who will contribute
to the project eventually down the track, and it’ll be
great to reflect on all the current and historical issues.”
The gallery and meeting place will be unique to
Gilgandra, with this cultural precinct being one of its
“It’s the uniqueness of living in a small community,
that comes together to support each other, and I think we
do, as a collective, people in Gilgandra, we all come to
support each other in whatever field,” said Gail.
While the excitement of the grant funding lingers,
Gail still has her reservations.
“Unfortunately, I am disappointed in the project not
employing local people. A lot of the project is being
outsourced from non-locals, and local people are
expected to volunteer. That’s not giving us the opportunity
to feed back into the economy of Gilgandra,” said
“We are firsthand knowledge givers, and people have
given their time and information freely, but there is not
an expectancy of full-time employment of Aboriginal
people in the cultural centre. At this point in time.”
Gilgandra Shire Council have said that local
resources will be used in the construction of the gallery
and meeting place.
The $305,450 grant comes under the NSW government regional tourism acceleration fund. Gilgandra Shire Council have complimented the contribution with an $80,849 investment.