Tourism and Events Information for Victoria’s tourism industry

First Peoples sculptures to lead the upgrade of Wadawurrung Cultural Precinct

Published: 20 November 2023

The new Wadawurrung Cultural Precinct at Sovereign Hill will soon be home to new sculptures crafted by 5 First Peoples artists. The sculptures will encourage a deeper understanding of the Traditional Owners in the Ballarat region.

Aunty Marlene Gilson, Dr Deanne Gilson, Tammy Gilson, Kait James and Lynette Fagan are the 5 First Peoples artists chosen to create the sculptures. Their featured sculptures will pay homage to the rich history of the local Wadawurrung people.

The Wadawurrung Cultural precinct will highlight the importance of sharing the journeys, experiences, and stories of the region by instilling the knowledge of First Peoples’ culture to current and future generations of all people. The project is expected to be completed by June 2024.

Seven people sitting in two rows in a park area.

Back row (left to right): Angela Carey (Sovereign Hill Board Member), Kait James (artist), Dr Deanne Gilson (artist), Sara Quon (Sovereign Hill CEO). Front row (left to right): Aunty Marlene Gilson (artist), Lynette Fagan (artist)

The new cultural space is part of a significant precinct upgrade. The project will generate jobs and attract more visitors to the much-loved, gold-rush themed attraction. The attraction will feature a ‘Valley of Lights’ outdoor event area and indoor dining overhaul. It’s expected to welcome up to 83,400 new visitors each year to the region by 2040.

The upgrade will be delivered from $6 million support from the Regional Tourism Investment Fund and will create 69 construction jobs and 11 ongoing positions.

Sovereign Hill’s famous gold panning precinct will also receive an upgrade. The upgrade will focus on enhancing events and experiences and extending operation of the precinct into the evenings. Accessibility to the area will be improved, so that people with disability can also enjoy the experience.

The new sculptures support a key pillar in Experience Victoria 2033, which is First People-led tourism experiences. The pillar aims to support Aboriginal Victorians to tell their stories and deepen visitors’ understanding of Country.

Page last updated: 20 Nov 2023
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We acknowledge the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria, their ongoing connection to this land and we pay our respects to their culture and their Elders past, present and future.

© 2023 Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions

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