Bring life to our heritage


The bush capital of today is a very different city to that of my youth. You sense that Canberra now is confident, bold and ready, poised to take on the prospects of 2020 and beyond.  

As we embrace these wonderful opportunities we should never lose sight of the past as a means of informing the present and as a guide to this exciting future. Beneath the fabric of our community lies a rich tapestry woven over time, informed by experiences, insights gained and past lives lived well. It has been said that a community without knowledge of its history and origins is like a tree without roots.  

Today we celebrate a shared history, seen through the lens of an ancient Aboriginal landscape upon which new arrivals have now traversed; a rich cultural landscape that shapes and moulds the essence of life here in the bush capital.

While as the nation’s capital our city is relatively young, we have many and varied heritage places, elements and objects. The ACT Heritage Council works to conserve our past by recognising, protecting and celebrating these things.

To assist in illuminating our history the latest round of Heritage Grants have been announced – a fantastic opportunity to shine the spotlight on the historical threads which bind us as a community.  

Applications are now open to individuals, community groups and non-profit organisations to play an active role in promoting an enduring legacy for future generations. Since 2000, well over $4.8 million has been allocated to hundreds of projects all designed to conserve and enhance our shared heritage.

Successful last round, Tuggeranong Arts Centre continues to work towards delivering an Indigenous artwork project at Violet's Park in Ngunnawal. Named after the highly respected Ngunnawal elder, Violet Bulger (1900-1993), this project is designed to reveal Violet's life story as one of forced removal as a child, then institutionalised at missions to finally settling in Canberra as a revered Aboriginal elder. Violet’s poignant story reveals much about the experience of Aboriginal people of our region.

A completely different heritage grant was secured by the National Trust of Australia to deliver a innovative seven hour cycling tour celebrating heritage landmarks as checkpoints. This highly successful event featured prominently in the 2016 Heritage Festival.  

Whether it be a heritage project to celebrate through a community event, a new way to conserve places or elements entered on the ACT Heritage Register or a project that offers an innovative collaborative opportunity with local Aboriginal communities, the 2017-18 Heritage Grant program offers a window of boundless possibilities. Applications close on the 5 May 2017. More information is available at


Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful Platypus.

Article also appeared in The Chronicle