Telopea and Midtown

Case Study


Dharug Nation

Telopea Estate, to the north of Parramatta, and Midtown at Macquarie Park are both NSW Communities Plus developments designed to increase the supply and choice of social and affordable housing options. Both developments are on the traditional lands of the Wallumedegal clan (derived from wallumai, the snapper fish + matta, place), and are part of the larger Dharug nation. TheFulcrum.Agency was engaged by Frasers Property to identify opportunities to embed principles from the Connecting with Country Framework into the developments.

What did we do?

Our role was threefold: to deliver an overview of the site’s ancient and contemporary Aboriginal history; to speak with Dharug custodians, artists, the Local Aboriginal Land Council, Local Government, and various Aboriginal enterprises to glean interest in the development; and to identify opportunities where Dharug culture could influence design outcomes. Through this work we were able to propose a range of spatial opportunities that could be further developed by the designers.

Genuine engagement with First Nations peoples is circular, fluid, and reflective, and ultimately leads to a richer outcome for everyone.

What was the impact of out work?

Our ‘Opportunities Plan’ included a series of outcomes that could be delivered in the short, medium and long-term, ranging from easy-to-achieve actions such as ‘commission Aboriginal artists for public art’; or ‘include Aboriginal stakeholders in the selection of plant species and land management’; through to more ambitious goals such as ‘look for opportunities for Aboriginal community groups and enterprises to receive reduced leases and hiring fees for public and commercial spaces.’

This work demonstrates the benefits of shifting away from a ‘Business as Usual’ approach to the design and delivery of large-scale developments. It shows that genuine engagement with First Nations peoples – soon to be mandated by the Connecting to Country Framework – is circular, fluid, and reflective, and ultimately leads to a richer outcome for everyone.