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DJAARA (Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation) Galkangu partnership


We are proud of Galkangu’s significant design and sustainability features including its large mass timber frame, 6-star Green Star target (achieved already for Design) and the embedment of Dja Dja Wurrung design elements. These features affirm Dja Dja Wurrung’s rights as Traditional Owners and their responsibilities for the care and governance of Country and society. 

Read the DJAARA and Victorian government Galkangu partnership fact sheet for more information on the design process and learn more about the talented artists whose works feature at Galkangu.

A celebration of the partnership between the Victorian Government and DjAARA

The co-design process and key features

Since 2017, we have been working with DJAARA (Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation) to deliver Bendigo’s new Govhub, named Galkangu. 

DJANDAK, a Dja Dja Wurrung enterprise, formed a Traditional Owner Working Group (Wartaka) of Elders and knowledge holders who identified several cultural priorities for Galkangu, which combined the aspirations of respect, recognition, reconciliation and self-determination. The Wartaka prepared a brief which included the vision and story for the building and members of DJANDAK provided advice to Development Victoria regarding the selection process of the builder.  

With all this this place, the co-design process could be realised. This process included several workshops and studio sessions between the Dja Dja Wurrung team (DJAARA, DJANDAK and DUMAWUL), Development Victoria, Regional Development Victoria, the architects and landscape designer (Lyons Architecture and GLAS Landscape Architects); and builder, Icon Fairbrother. 

The key design elements and artworks included throughout Galkangu are rich in symbolism, messaging and narrative. They include:

  • Architecture: a mass timber frame and 6-star Green Star target, reflecting Dja Dja Wurrung’s values of Caring for Country.
  • Dja Dja Wurrung language: featured throughout - the building’s name itself, on the timber columns in the public customer service area and the naming of meeting rooms and other spaces, carrying thousands of years of traditions, customs and values. 
  • Interior design: granite and bluestone seamlines have been incorporated into the forecourt and foyer flooring representing a reflection on the two perspectives of the influence of the mining of bluestone, quartz and gold on Country. This narrative, of truth-telling and the reconciliation journey ahead, is echoed in the wall, ceiling and flooring design of the three Showcase Meeting Rooms. The interior design of the whole building reflects the layers of the Box Iron-Bark forest that would have stood at the site pre-colonisation.  
  • Artworks: include the façade, forecourt sculpture with an augmented reality experience, entranceway paintings with light and sound installation, and a meeting room table. Learn more about the artworks in the DJAARA and Victorian government Galkangu partnership fact sheet
  • Landscape design: includes a diverse native and predominately indigenous planting palette, as well as granite features in the internal courtyards- a water feature and a circular gathering place. Edible, medicinal, aromatic, fruiting and flowering plants are all included, symbolising the importance of keeping Country healthy.
  • Multimedia: an Application (App) called ‘Galkangu – building with Djaara’ has been developed to explain the design features in detail. It includes a language learning game with pronunciations, artist interviews and an augmented reality experience. 

Apple: ‎Galkangu: building with Djaara 

Android: Galkangu: building with Djaara - Apps on Google Play


Updated on 30 January 2024