Uncle Sandy’s Vision
historically significant as an important landmark in the struggle of the Aboriginal people to maintain their own culture
The Aboriginal community, led by local Elder John (Sandy) Atkinson OAM, pursued an ambitious program to develop a museum/keeping place for artifacts and artworks to be displayed as well as a centre for educating visitors about the cultural heritage of the local Aboriginal people.
Established in 1982 as a joint venture of the former Shepparton Aboriginal Arts Council Co-operative (now known as the Bangerang Cultural Centre) and the Greater Shepparton City Council, and led by Uncle Sandy, the building was designed by famous Victorian architect Fredrick Romberg (1913 – 1992).
Using Uncle Sandy’s sketches of a circular building design, traced around a 45rpm record, the octagonal building Romberg designed is encircled by a colonnade of tree poles and a pyramidal roof, presenting ground-breaking architecture. Today the building that houses the Bangerang Cultural Centre is acknowledged and appreciated as an innovative project, ahead of its time.
Uncle Sandy’s Vision in establishing the Bangerang Cultural Centre is historically significant as an important landmark in the struggle of the Aboriginal people to maintain their own culture. As the first Aboriginal-managed museum in Victoria to be planned, it is a tangible symbol of the shift of attitude in society from the idea of assimilation to self-determination.