PNGAA representatives were pleased by the turnout and level of support shown at last Sunday's open day at part of the site of the former Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) on Sydney’s Middle Head.
Fine weather and a good cross-section of people with Papua New Guinea connections attended, about 75 in all, including former students, PNG Consul General Sumasy Singin and representatives of the Wantok Club, Chinese Catholic Association, Friends of Rambutso and various NGOs.
It was a good beginning and a great show of interested support for the proposal to use Ten Terminal as a Community Centre for Pacific Nations, although winning through against some tough competition will be a long haul.
During Keith Jackson's presidency some years ago, the PNGAA made an attempt to promote a similar proposition which failed to gain the critical mass necessary to obtain official support.
A difference this time may be the willingness of PNGAA to recruit allies and partners to create a multifunctional centre going well beyond commemoration of the ASOPA ethos.
PNGAA needs input (by 31 May) from former students, staff and anyone with an ASOPA connection. All you need do is complete an online questionnaire here: https://environment.au.citizenspace.com/sydney-harbour-federation-trust/middlehead-planninginformation-day
This may seem like a small thing to do but, in the context of the great competition for this site, your participation may prove to be a breakthrough point for a Pacific community centre.
The PNGAA committee envisages an ambitious and exciting project with a Papua New Guinea-Australia Centre as a focal point for the PNG-Australia relationship.
Potential uses of the site identified by the committee include:
- a living history focus on preserving and interpreting heritage values around the 51-year ASOPA history of Australian PNG and Pacific region relationship development;
- multi-purpose halls and galleries for exhibitions and culturally enriching activities;
- workshops, open spaces and facilities promoting engagement of community groups, raising awareness of ties, roles and continuing relationships;
- a hub for NGO not-for-profits servicing PNG and the region.
If you have any material, documents or knowledge of courses and students during the ITI and ACPAC years, this would also be useful in making out a case and developing a campaign.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and leave a message for Paul Munro if you have material that may help.