A new meeting place for Canberra opens in the heart of ANU

11 February 2019

Kambri, a $260 million redevelopment at The Australian National University (ANU), and the new meeting place for the Canberra and university community has opened with five new buildings, a tree-lined promenade and a range of new shops and services.

The centrepiece of the opening was the unveiling of Sidney Nolan's Eureka Stockade, installed in the precinct's new Cultural Centre.

The artwork, a 20-metre long mural depicting the Battle of the Eureka Stockade fought in Ballarat in 1854, was a gift to ANU from the Reserve Bank of Australia. It joins the iconic Riverbend as the University's second Sidney Nolan artwork.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said the artwork would be a focal point in the thriving precinct, which includes a student residential hall, teaching and learning facilities, a health and life centre and more than 40 shops and retailers.

"The magnificent Eureka Stockade, with its 66 copper panels spanning 20 metres is a monumental gift to the University in both scale and significance and will be treasured by all members of our university community," Professor Schmidt said.

"The opening of Kambri represents a new chapter in the history of our campus.

"I have visited the grounds of many of the world's most impressive universities and I am proud to say that Kambri sets the new standard in delivering a contemporary community space with unrivalled services and facilities.

"For our on-campus residential students, the opening of Kambri means they don't have to leave campus for anything - they will have all of the student services, health and wellbeing facilities, gym, pool and even a supermarket right at their doorstep.

"There will be cafes and so many different food options for them in addition to a bar, bookstore, a pharmacist, banks and other retail conveniences."

Kambri will also house a state of the art cultural centre with a theatre, cinema and large hall that can accommodate public lectures and events as well as large music acts.

Former Midnight Oil lead singer and Cabinet Minister Peter Garrett spoke at the opening.

 "The Cultural Centre will transform by night to a thriving venue for bands and performances," Professor Schmidt said.

"We will regain our reputation for being Canberra's home for live music!"

Construction on the precinct began in 2017, following two years of extensive consultation with the ANU and wider Canberra community.

The local traditional owner groups gifted the name Kambri, which means 'meeting place', to ANU.

"We wanted to make sure Kambri would reflect the Indigenous history and culture of the area so we have been working closely with the local Indigenous families to incorporate a number of elements into the precinct," Professor Schmidt said.

"They came together to design and create a magnificent ground map that tells the story of the local indigenous cultural landscape featuring stories, connections and cultural activity around Kambri."

The precinct also include native trees that grew in this area before colonisation along with a bush food garden and an Indigenous heritage walk that highlights all the areas of the site that have cultural significance.

Today's opening ceremony included speeches by The Hon Peter Garrett, a live concert by a variety of ANU and Canberra bands, hosted by ANU alumna and Canberra comedian Chris Ryan.

More pictures of today's stunning ceremony are available here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/hAYDE6yDrH/files