Name of new Civic Precinct celebrates Aboriginal heritage

The City of Greater Geelong’s new Civic Precinct, including City offices and surrounding community space, will be known as ‘Wurriki Nyal’ (WUU-ruh-kih nee-YAHL), Wadawurrung words meaning ‘speak and talk together’.

Developer partner Quintessential Equity also announced the name of the precinct’s proposed second building would be ‘Ngytan Koriayo’ (nee-YAHT-ern kohr-ri-AY-yoh), which means ‘look over the water, see all around Corio Bay’, highlighting the building’s views for visitors and staff. The commercial building will be funded and owned by Quintessential Equity.

The names come from Wadawurrung language, the original language of the lands, waters, seas and skies that now include the City of Greater Geelong, paying tribute to the rich Aboriginal culture and history of the region. The City and Quintessential Equity have worked closely with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners in being granted this special use of Wadawurrung language.

Wadawurrung woman, Corrina Eccles, said the level of collaboration between Traditional Owners and the precinct’s project team was unprecedented.

This is the first time in the Geelong region that a major project has had such a depth of collaborative engagement with our People into construction, design, story, place and language.

Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said the name of the new precinct emphasised the importance of community dialogue and engagement in civic life.

‘Wurriki Nyal’ is a name that celebrates Greater Geelong’s strong Aboriginal heritage and symbolises our hopes for the future. It is a wonderfully fitting name and a reminder that lively, respectful community discourse is at the heart of everything we do as a Council.

We hope the community will embrace the new name and the celebration of community spirit and togetherness it represents.

Quintessential Equity Executive Chairman Shane Quinn said the organisation was proud of the project’s close collaboration with Traditional Owners.

We are delighted to have worked with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners to ensure that their legacy lives on and endures through this precinct. There’s knowledge built up over thousands of years which we hope will be reflected in this project – from its name, the design and what it represents.

At every possible stage this project celebrates all things local, and we hope the naming of the precinct will act as a reminder to the community to take a moment to honour Aboriginal peoples’ ongoing connection to the land.

Wadawurrung People built structured circles, sometimes referred to as yarning circles, on country as places of ceremonial business, gathering and celebration. In acknowledgement of this tradition, the precinct will incorporate a yarning circle at the heart of its new public space, with the Wadawurrung name ‘Gayoopanyoon Goopma’ (gye-OO-pahn-yoon GOOP-mah), meaning ‘gather’.

The City and Quintessential Equity also released an educational video featuring artwork by Wadawurrung man, Billy-Jay O’Toole, and animated by local Geelong studio Pillowfort Creative. The video explores the meaning and significance of each name and outlines their pronunciation and can be viewed at www.geelongaustralia.com.au/civicprecinct (direct link here).

The City’s offices and the precinct’s new community space are expected to be completed by mid 2022.

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