The NSW Government has purchased a property in Putney to ensure the protection and preservation of the believed resting place of early indigenous intermediary Woollarawarre Bennelong.
Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, today announced the purchase of 25 Watson Street and said this purchase celebrates and recognises the importance of a significant figure in Australia’s history.
“Woollarawarre Bennelong was the first significant connection between our two cultures and it’s important that we protect and preserve this site that could be an important piece of our nation’s history,” Mr Roberts said.
“We are a government that is planning ahead and investing in new and upgraded infrastructure to improve the future of NSW, but we also need to make sure we are protecting our heritage and preserving the past.
“This purchase is an important step in preserving the culture, history and achievement of Bennelong, as a representative of the Aboriginal people and it is the first step in a journey we are taking together,” he said.
“Given its significance we need to make sure we are taking all the appropriate steps to ensure we manage the site in a way that is respectful and in line with community values,” he said.
A committee will be established to discuss the next steps for the site’s future. It will be made up of representatives from the Aboriginal community, the Bennelong Putney Project Committee, the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Lands Council, DPE, OEH, Aboriginal Affairs and local community.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell welcomed the news and said the purchase is a great way to help honour a significant senior icon of the Eora Nation.
“This land is such an important part of Australia’s rich Aboriginal history, and by purchasing it we can continue to work alongside the community to ensure Aboriginal culture and identity is at the heart of everything we do.”
Bennelong was the first intermediary between Aboriginal people and the settlers of the First Fleet in 1788. The riverside property in Putney was once part of ex-convict and Australia’s first brewer James Squire’s estate, who was a friend of Bennelong.