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New Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre to be called Nyaal Banyul

New Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre to be called Nyaal Banyul
August 11, 2023

The Victorian Government has advised that Geelong’s new convention and exhibition centre will be known as the Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre when it opens in 2026.

Returning Wadawurrung language to country, the new name, which means “open your eyes to the hills”, has been gifted by the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation.

Announcing the new title, Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Harriet Shing today advised “there is a long and significant cultural history with the site which we want to recognise through the design, construction and operations of this significant project for Geelong.”

Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation interim Chief Executive, Liam Murphy said they were grateful to have been given the opportunity to “return language to Country”, noting “we also appreciate being invited to provide design principles to inform the concept of the GCEC on this part of Country, as the Western Beach cliffs, holds special cultural value to Wadawurrun.”

The Victorian Government is investing more than $260 million to build the Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre precinct as part of the Geelong City Deal, with additional contributions of $30 million from the Australian Government and $3 million from the City of Greater Geelong.

The consortium, Plenary Conventions is delivering the project and will work with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation to embed its culture, values, and knowledge into the building and public realm as part of a co-design approach.

The naming also marks the return of events and celebration to the site which was historically a gathering place known as baierr. The new name also encapsulates the range of events the centre will host.

The Corporation will also work with the future operators of the centre, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust, to celebrate and educate the public on Wadawurrung cultural history.

Construction of the purpose-built convention and event centre will commence soon and will be complete in 2026. The Centre will host a range of events from large corporate, sporting and entertainment events to international music and trade shows, through to public exhibitions.

The precinct includes, a 1000 seat venue, two large exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, conference facilities and flexible event spaces. It will also be home to retail spaces for food and beverage, a large public plaza and a 200-room hotel under the internationally renowned Crowne Plaza brand.

Natalie O’Brien, Chief Executive of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, which will manage the venue when opened, explained that continuous engagement with the Wadawurrung community “is an important focus”, noting “we seek to strengthen our relationship with and honour First Nations knowledge, heritage and truth-telling in the venue’s brand, throughout the centre and in future operation.”

Image: Geelong’s new convention and exhibition centre will be known as the Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre. Credit: Plenary Conventions.

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