Aboriginal & Non Indigenous Communities of the World, Politicians, Philanthropists, Reconciliation

An Aboriginal Keeping Place

…celebrating our survival…

….growing our culture…

…protecting our heritage…

…keeping our community strong…

- by Larissa Behrendt, Professor of Law, UTS

The Vision…

To create a National Aboriginal Keeping Place/Cultural Centre in Sydney that celebrates our survival providing a space for the contemporary expression of our contemporary culture, protects our heritage and keeps our community strong.

Our plan is to find a benefactor who will purchase the Black Fella's Dreaming Museum's collection and use it to found The Keeping Place for the absolute benefit of the Aboriginal communities. The benefactor will not sub-divide the collection. Artworks by Gordon Syron and photographs by Elaine Pelot-Syron will be loaned to and preserved by The Keeping Place.

Aboriginal communities will benefit in the following ways:

The Possibilities …

A Cultural Centre – There is a need for a national cultural centre in an urban area that provides a space for the celebration of and for interaction with our contemporary urban culture. This can include the hosting of workshops on painting, sculpture, performance, music, the creation of Aboriginal cultural artefacts and creative writing.

A Celebration of Survival – A space dedicated to the preservation of our culture & traditions and archives the history & stories of urban Aboriginal people.

An Educational Environment – A space dedicated to teaching our culture and history is a place where Aboriginal and non Aboriginal communities can learn about the diversity and vibrancy of our Aboriginal cultures.

An Opportunity for Economic Development – A cultural space that focuses on showcasing contemporary Aboriginal culture also provides an opportunity for economic development by creating a place where Aboriginal artists can sell their art to the public.

Self Development Programs: We hope that the cultural centre will be committed to developing youth, leadership and prison rehabilitation programs. These programs will be aimed at developing self-esteem, confidence and vital life skills

Opportunities for Employment and Training – The Keeping Place will provide a large range of opportunities for the employment and training of Aboriginal people in order to staff the centre, curate the material, educate the public and run the operations with transparency, accountability and good governance principles.

The Collection

The heart and starting point for the Keeping Place & Cultural Centre is the Syrons’ Black Fella's Dreaming Museum. It is an important collection that contains many of Australia’s leading traditional and contemporary Aboriginal artists.

On May 14th 2009, a catalogue of 1400 artworks in the Syron's collection was finished by the not-for-profit organisation & volunteers, headed by Rona Wade,
Executive Director and CEO,
UNILINC Limited, online.

A catalogue of 547 artworks was valued in 2009 by
Adrian Newstead, ex-CEO of Deutscher-Menzies Auctioneers and Director/Owner of Coo-ee Aboriginal
Art Gallery.

The acquisition of the Syron Collection will provide a significant foundation for the important cultural archive that the Keeping Place / Cultural Centre will host.

Here's the link for The Keeping Place documentary:


Director: Martin Adams
Producer & Sound: Jason De Santolo
DOP & Editor: Fabio Cavadini
Narrator: Amanda King

For more information and art display please go to :




" Art is not just art to us,. it is culture " - Wire Mc (Aboriginal rap artist and activist)

Searching for a permanent home to host Australia’s largest collection of Aboriginal Art.

Note: This petition, was first addressed to Kevin Rudd MP, written in 2009 while we were still living in the Eveleigh railway-shed in Redfern. It was and is sponsored by Rev. Andrew Collis and the first signature is Craddock Morton, former Director of the National Australian Museum, Canberra and we thank Craddock and his staff, for this continuing support!

To Whom It May Concern,

On the behalf of friends of The Keeping Place, I write to convey to you the concerns of the community, regarding the possible loss of the largest collection of Aboriginal art ever assembled and owned by an Aboriginal man in Australia. In November 2010 through mediation the Syrons' agreed to leave the Eveleigh Railway shed where they lived with the artworks for over three years. The NSW government paid for storage until May 23rd 2011. This is an emergency because the artworks will become under threat of becoming homeless from this date.

Established in the late 1990s, The Keeping Place Aboriginal Cultural Centre is seeking a permanent space. With more than 1,400 paintings, 200 artefacts and sculptures from over 500 Aboriginal artists, the Collection is a true representation of Australian Aboriginal art. The Keeping Place also hosts a unique collection of more than 50,000 photographs recording Aboriginal stories spanning the last 30 years, as well as 80 rare posters.

By offering a visual means of informing the public about Aboriginal culture, the Keeping Place is in a unique position to become the first true cultural centre for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities to interact and work together towards the future.

Aboriginal art is about stories! Who else than Aboriginal artists and curators can best represent this great culture and bring it to the public? With a range of workshops, talks, forums and touring exhibitions, The Keeping Place is more than just a museum; it is a vibrant centre where arts and culture merge, where the public can finally learn from the First Australians.

The Keeping Place is also about offering training and employment to Aboriginal people in the fields of education, conservation, exhibition, and communication.

It is all there: the art, the expertise and the passion. Yet, the space is missing. Currently hosted temporarily in Redfern, The Keeping Place needs a permanent space urgently and support to achieve cultural sustainability.

We therefore, call upon you to preserve this collection. We ask you to help us find a permanent home for The Keeping Place.

On behalf of the friends of the Keeping Place, I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Andrew Collis
South Sydney Uniting Church
56a Raglan Street, Redfern/Waterloo

The first signature on the petition is Craddock Morton, Director of National Australian Museum, Canberra. He flew to Sydney in 2009 to be the first signatory & is now a patron of The Keeping Place, along with Hon. Michael Kirby and Prof. Larissa Behrendt.


We, the undersigned, urge the Federal Government to help find a permanent home for the Keeping Place. By signing this petition, you are supporting this important cultural project for all Australians, as well as supporting the first inhabitants of this beautiful land. The Keeping Place is about reconciliation, education and working towards the future for our children.

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The An Aboriginal Keeping Place: SOS - Can We Save The Artworks? petition to Aboriginal & Non Indigenous Communities of the World, Politicians, Philanthropists, Reconciliation was written by Black-Fellas-Dreaming and is in the category Culture at GoPetition.