David Rathman AM, a leader and advocate for South Australia’s Aboriginal communities, has been appointed as ambassador for the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre (AACC), now in development for the Lot Fourteen global innovation precinct.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Aboriginal people to have ownership and leadership of what will become one of the state’s leading tourism attractions and to be active participants in that venture through business and career opportunities. There is a lot of excitement for this centre,” said Mr Ratham.
Premier Steven Marshall says the appointment of Mr Rathman to the role is a significant step in the centre’s development and will strengthen the participation of Aboriginal communities in its planning and implementation.
“The AACC will position South Australia as the gateway to the oldest living cultures in the world by offering extraordinary immersive experiences, combining traditional storytelling with modern technology to create a global tourism attraction,” Premier Marshall says.
“David Rathman will be an outstanding advocate for the AACC, drawing on his knowledge of Aboriginal cultures and his experience working with and for Aboriginal communities across culture and history, education, health and community welfare.”
Mr Rathman is a member of the South Australian Museum board and chair of its Aboriginal Advisory Committee, a board member of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, and co -chair of the SA Water Reconciliation Committee, among other roles. He has had a long career in representing Aboriginal people and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2000 in recognition of his services to Aboriginal Affairs.
Mr Rathman was born and raised in Port Augusta and is a proud Eastern Aranda descendant with family connections to the Kokatha, Arabunna and other Aboriginal nations in South Australia.
He says he is excited to help bring the timeless stories of Indigenous cultures to the world at the AACC.
“We will help people to gain an appreciation of Aboriginal connection to Country, and their own connection, in terms of a cultural and spiritual journey over 60,000 years,” Mr Rathman says.
“When people walk into our centre, the Aboriginal experience will walk forward and embrace them. We want people to feel part of their journey too and to come back many times over and bring their future generations.”
The Australian Government will provide up to $85 million towards the AACC under the Adelaide City Deal while the state government will provide an additional $65 million.
The AACC is being developed in partnership with Aboriginal communities and in consultation with Aboriginal arts and cultural groups and cultural institutions.
Mr Rathman said as AACC Ambassador, he would make sure that Aboriginal people continued to be represented at all points of the centre’s development and operation.