Country Always

Caring for Country
Words by Terri Janke

'Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which the Powerhouse stands. We recognise their continuous connection to Country and extend our respect to the diverse First Nations peoples who now call these places home.

In Indigenous culture Country is vast, all-encompassing and limitless, and transcends western notions of property and land ownership.

Country is multifaceted and includes all tangible and intangible cultural heritage. It means the lands, waters, seas, and skies and everything on it, including people, plants, animals and landscapes.

Country is also the song lines, stories, language, cultural expressions and knowledge. It is all parts of Australia: the deserts, rainforests, mountains and plains.

Urban areas, the streets, parks, and the buildings are situated all on Country.

Country is holistic and living.

Country is spiritual belonging.

Country shapes individual and communal identity and wellbeing. It is the ‘people, family, mob, who walk on Country’. Country is kin. The relationship between people and Country must include reciprocity.'

– Terri Janke, Powerhouse Caring for Country Principles, 2022

Eucalyptus trees against the blue sky, looking upward.

In consultation with First Nations peoples of the Country on which the Powerhouse sites are situated, Caring for Country Principles now form the foundation of the Climate Action Plan – they are our Acknowledgement to Country in practice.

True acknowledgement is not just a sentiment or a proceeding, but an ongoing behaviour and responsibility. Through the stories we tell, our care for cultural belongings and collaboration with Community – we remember and respect Country, Always.

Download the Powerhouse Climate Action Plan 2022–2025 here

Caring for Country Principles

The vitality, health and wellbeing of First Nations people and Country are interconnected. Powerhouse will use its resources and knowledge to support First Nations people maintain strong relationships with Country, access to Country and resources, and connect with Mob.

First Nations people are the custodians of Country and are bound to respect, care and maintain the health of Country. Powerhouse will consider the impact of its activities and practices to ensure it does not damage Country or hinder First Nations peoples’ custodial obligations, including to future generations.

Powerhouse understands the centrality of intergenerational equity in sustainability in Indigenous culture and will work to ensure this forms part of its Climate Action Plan.

Cultural flows recognise the rights First Nations people have to access, manage and care for waterways. Powerhouse acknowledges its sites are located near or on significant rivers and seas and First Nations people have responsibilities to care for these waterways.

The obligation to care for Country is inherently defined by the relationship between Country and its custodians, whereby no two groups will have the same practices, knowledge of, or obligation to Country. Powerhouse respects the obligations Traditional Owners have to the different Country its sites are located on.

Powerhouse will work with First Nations people to develop opportunities, engagement and strategies to embed caring for Country principles that reflect their perspectives and knowledge.

Powerhouse respects the responsibilities First Nations people have to care for Country, and their role as interpreters of their own culture and custodians of Country. Powerhouse aims to embed these values into its practices with First Nations guidance.

Caring for Country is holistic and cyclical. Powerhouse will consider the needs and health of Country – the people, plants and animals, waters, seas, skies, and landscapes – in accordance with a First Nations holistic world view.

Language allows First Nations people to connect to identity, Country and culture. Powerhouse will support language revitalisation and connection to Country.

Powerhouse will celebrate the diversity in traditional cultural expression and support First Nations people to connect and care for Country through cultural practices. Powerhouse is committed to reckoning with its time and place in Australia’s colonial history to better serve, make space and provide opportunities for First Nations empowerment and representation. Powerhouse recognises and shares the value and importance of preserving, revitalising, and strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements.


Blak Powerhouse

Powerhouse x We Are Warriors

The Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our museums are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.

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