Balarinji was engaged within the Arcadis and HASSELL design team to embed Aboriginal heritage and culture within the M12 Motorway’s identity. Through Balarinji’s cultural design principles methodology, a deep Aboriginal sense of place has informed the earliest stages of M12 design.
Balarinji has worked closely with local Aboriginal knowledge holders, like D’harawal Elder, Professor Frances Bodkin, as well as Aboriginal artists, to translate the cultural themes for art and design across the M12 corridor. The creation stories song, dance, iconography, and cultural practices that have informed the M12 cultural narrative, will greatly enrich built form, landscape design, and interpretive user experience. The story of those who travelled the area long before us is a rich and authentic base for the project’s identity.
An overarching concept of the M12’s Aboriginal narrative is enabling people to experience traditional Aboriginal stories that still live on the landscape, and are just as alive today as they were thousands of years ago.
The Six Aboriginal Seasons will be interpreted throughout the M12 corridor, through native planting, artworks, shared pathways, and colours. As people travel along the corridor they will experience the landscape, the six seasons, and the seasonal indicators the D’harawal people used to live in harmony with nature. This could be knowing the best times to hunt based on what plants were in bloom or when it was time for clans to come together for ceremony and celebration.