Castlereagh (Penrith Lakes Scheme and its adjacent environs) is a special place for the Darug Aboriginal people. The Darug, in particular the ‘Mulgoa clan’, occupied this land for thousands of years and for generations they hunted game, fished and gathered plant food. For the Darug, Castlereagh was also a ‘special meeting place’, a ‘pathway to friends’ (of the Darug) and other Aboriginal tribal groups. The Darug remain the Traditional Custodians of the Castlereagh and take great pride in their rich cultural history, particularly evidenced in the abundant archaeological artefacts which continue to be found in the area.
Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural and Education Centre (Muru Mittigar) was established within the Penrith Lakes Scheme in December 1998 and was officially opened as a meeting place for sharing cultures in November 1999.
Muru Mittigar is located in Castlereagh, on the outskirts of metropolitan Sydney, NSW.
Situated at the base of the Blue Mountains and adjacent to the banks of the Hawkesbury / Nepean River, the centre was originally established by the Penrith Lakes Development Corporation and local community representatives and business people, as part of the development of the Penrith Lakes Scheme. The project was initially funded under the Federal Government’s ‘Regional Assistance Program’ (RAP) who sought to investigate, develop and operate an Aboriginal Culture Centre. Muru Mittigar has remained in constant operation for 15 continuous years.
Primary objects of the project were:
To create better understanding of Aboriginal culture in the wider community;
Create new jobs;
Develop skills training;
Increase the economic benefits of tourism to the region, and increase training and employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians.
This dream is now a sustainable reality. Muru Mittigar is independently managed by a Board of Directors and functions as a registered company and Public Benevolent Institution (charity). Muru Mittigar is an entirely self-financing ‘fee for service’ social procurement model, utilising mainstream contracting revenue to deliver its services. It seeks government employment funding, available to any business, to enhance social procurement outcomes only.
The Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural and Education Centre was established to recognise the cultural significance of Penrith Lakes Scheme (and its adjacent environs) as ‘Darug country’ to preserve and celebrate Darug heritage (particularly through the establishment of a ‘Keeping Place’); engage the wider community in the life and culture of the Darug; empower Aboriginal people through education, training and employment and recognise the right of Aboriginal people to participate in decisions that affect them and their country.
Muru Mittigar promotes an awareness of Aboriginal culture, customs and traditions in all its business activities and endeavours to work and engage with local Aboriginal communities wherever it conducts business under commercial enterprise arrangements with its partners/clients.