EIder Aunty Raelene Baker, 2020
Museum of Brisbane (MoB) is located on a former marsh, on land of significant cultural value to the traditional Aboriginal custodians of this place. An ancient creek continues to run beneath City Hall’s heritage building. This creek and the nearby Brisbane River (Maiwar) flow in witness to ancient tales and inform the lore of Aboriginal ancestors and descendant clan groups. Meanjin, the place now called Brisbane, is an area of great cultural importance; once it was wild, rich and food was plentiful, and possessed pristine waters and abundant marine life. Aboriginal connections with this place, its flora and fauna, the river and its waterways, and its narratives are ancient. These connections have changed over the last two hundred years – but are not forgotten. MoB acknowledges this past, the present and the future.
During colonisation, local Aboriginal peoples were removed from this place that became Brisbane city. Change impacted traditional homelands, and violence and misunderstandings caused death, disease, sorrow and ongoing grief. MoB respects and acknowledges the difficult histories, the significance of this site, and the impacts to the Traditional Custodians of Meanjin, the larger regions and neighbouring Brisbane catchment areas.
MoB respectfully tells stories that honour the ancient history of this place through our city’s historical collections and contemporary exhibitions. We commit to celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and cultures and note their ongoing significance. We recognise the value of ancient first Nations cultures and the richness of their contemporary heritage and continue to strengthen ties through representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interests in program planning.
MoB commits to walking together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, side by side, guided by them and Elders past, present and emerging. On this journey, we embrace the diverse cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children and continue to support, develop and deliver culturally respectful programs and events. These initiatives acknowledge the cultural richness of our Brisbane region.
Today we strive for an integrated approach to reconciliation and recognise the difficulties of the past. We acknowledge these histories with regret and move forward to affirm relationships with Brisbane’s first Nations peoples. MoB is the repository of an active collection, an archive of historical and contemporary material that engages with and shares histories through authentic story-telling and content gathering. It is a place that nurtures communication, conversation, and dialogue about our city. MoB aspires to instil knowledge in its diverse and growing audiences which amplifies the significance of this site and its history as integral to Brisbane stories.
This Statement of Intent: Commitment to Reconciliation marks our respect and support for keeping first Nations stories alive, and acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Brisbane, the Yaggera, Turrabul, Yuggarrapul, Jinabara, Quandamooka and neighbouring clan groups. MoB pays its respects to Elders, past, present and emerging – we particularly acknowledge the important role the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to play within our creative and connected communities. MoB meaningfully engages with artists and communities to acknowledge shared histories, look to the future, and to celebrate the culture of our first Nations Peoples.