Academic journal article Australian Aboriginal Studies

History Created (and Revisited)-A New Home for AIATSIS. (News and Information)

Academic journal article Australian Aboriginal Studies

History Created (and Revisited)-A New Home for AIATSIS. (News and Information)

Article excerpt

The inaugural meeting of what was to become the Interim Council of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (later renamed the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) was held in Canberra on 22 November 1961. This meeting was chaired by AD Trendall and included AP Elkin, DF Thomson, WEH Stanner and FW McCarthy. Also present were WC Wentworth and officials from Treasury and the Prime Minister's Department.

Trendall opened the meeting, stating that the `particular concern of the Interim Council would be the establishment and development of an Institute of Aboriginal Studies. In addition there was a need to consider the proposal to build a National Centre on Capital Hill to display the history of Australia's culture ... and that it was hoped two buildings might eventually be devoted to aboriginal material and could provide housing for the new Institute. [He] hoped to see the buildings developed as a repository for films, books and collections and also as a centre for active research.' It has taken nearly 40 years but the vision articulated by Trendall has become a reality.

The Institute's move from its former premises at Acton House to the magnificent, purpose-built facilities on Acton Peninsula, co-located with the National Museum of Australia, has achieved the Interim Council's farsighted dream in ways which extend well beyond the imaginings and specifications of the 1960s.

I firmly believe that our unique building and high-profile location represent a number of positive influences affecting the long-term well-being of AIATSIS, such as:

* security of tenure (we have a 50-year Crown lease and own our built facilities)--at long last!;

* proper locational recognition as a cultural institution of national significance;

* overdue recognition of a specific Indigenous presence in the national capital;

* better, modern and more `user-friendly' facilities and services;

* much improved and more secure archival storage facilities, using `state of the art' technology;

* an improved capacity to engage with the wider public;

* a better and safer working environment for our staff;

* a secure, high-profile corporate setting from which valuable, strategic alliances can be encouraged and developed; and

* improved capacity to involve and service the needs of our membership. …

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