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Deakin Edge


Tuesday 24 March | 6:15pm - 7:45pm



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Contextualising the William Barak Apartment Building

Join a free public forum at Deakin Edge discussing Indigenous visual representation in Australia’s architectural and design landscape.

The discussion will centre around the recent unveiling of the 31-storey portrait of Wurundjuri leader and elder William Barak in the balconies of the new Grocon apartment building. The building was designed by ARM Architecture who worked closely with Wurundjeri elders in the design. The news of the portrait provoked widespread social media commentary both for and against.

This forum will be followed by a Q&A with the audience and brings together a panel of experts to debate key questions including:

  • Do the use of Indigenous visual representation in building design “perpetuate stereotypes of Aboriginal Australia for non-Indigenous audiences”?
  • Alternatively, reflecting the Trust’s intentions with the design of the Yarra Building, do buildings like the William Barak apartment building meet the stated purpose to “unite the city’s modern heritage with its deep history”?
  • Is it an exploitation of Aboriginal culture and communities if Wurundjeri elders worked closely with the designers of the building?
  • How do you reconcile principles of reconciliation and recognition of Indigenous peoples and communities with key architectural developments that wish to incorporate Indigenous visual representation?


  • Howard Raggart – ARM Architecture, architects of the William Barak apartment building.
  • Carey Lyon – Lyons Architecture, architect for the refurbishment of the Yarra Building at Federation Square, for the Koorie Heritage Trust.
  • Jefa Greenaway – Principal, Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria, working with Carey Lyon on the design of the Yarra Building spaces.
  • Linda Kenndy – completing Masters of Architecture with the University of Melbourne and author of blog page, Future Black, Decolonising Design in Australia’s Built Environment.
  • Aunty Joy Murphy – Senior Wurundjuri elder of the Kulin Alliance and descendent of William Barak.

This event is presented by the Koorie Heritage Trust in partnership with Lyons Architecture, Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria and Fed Square.

Please register your attendance on the event Facebook page.


Lift access & wheelchair accessible.
Accessiblity at Fed Square

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