Top honours for Shellharbour’s Aboriginal Interpretive Playspace

Shellharbour City Council’s Aboriginal Interpretive playspace has excelled yet again, receiving two new awards including top honours in the First Nations Community Partnerships category at the NSW Local Government Excellence Awards 2024.

The Local Government Excellence Awards is a high-profile annual event that recognises and rewards excellence and innovation in the local government sector.

The First Nations Community Partnership category recognises an initiative implemented in conjunction with the First Nations community that enriches a community, delivered through an effective or innovative approach that goes beyond what the organisation has implemented previously.

Yirran muru was also the winner of a Playspace Award (under $500k category) at the Parks and Leisure Australia Regional Awards of Excellence 2024. This award recognises involvement of a range of stakeholders, contributes to a sense of “place”, and exhibits landscape and/or structural design innovation that aids childhood development.

This marks the 6th award for the playspace since its official opening in April 2023.

Mayor Chris Homer said that the success of the space was the result of strong partnerships.

“Extensive consultation was undertaken throughout the entirety of the project. This included workshops with Aboriginal children and young people, Aboriginal Elders, and open consultation with the broader Aboriginal community and wider community,” Mayor Homer said “I’m incredibly proud of the collaboration that was undertaken to deliver such a unique playspace that shares local Dharawal culture through Aboriginal methods of learning,” he said.

Local Aboriginal community member and collaborator on the project, Dr Jodi Edwards said that everyone learns and benefits from Yirran muru.

“The backyard (Yirran muru) was an amazing opportunity to showcase regionally, nationally and internationally what can be achieved when Aboriginal people and the wider community come together to partner for the youngest and adolescence in the broader community,” Dr Edwards said.

“The partnership is so much more than mere words of reconciliation – it is reconciliation in action,” she said.


  • Winner – First Nations Community Partnerships, NSW Local Government Excellence Awards 2024
  • Winner – Playspace Award (under $500k category), Parks and Leisure Australia Regional Awards of Excellence 2024
  • Winner – Education and Interpretation, National Trust Heritage Awards 2024
  • Highly Commended – Aboriginal Heritage, National Trust and Heritage Awards 2024
  • Winner – Diversity and Inclusion, 2024 Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)
  • Silver – Landscape Excellence Awards 2023

Learn more about Yirran muru on the Shellharbour Civic Centre website.

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