The Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre, due to open later this year, is an exciting new space for kids and their carers that tells Australian stories in engaging and enjoyable ways.
Children and their families were consulted throughout the design process, and 5 animal stories from around the continent and across time emerged as the ones kids most connected with.
The first story is set on the great Australian grasslands, where visitors meet Wambuwyuny, the grey kangaroo, and hear the Wiradjuri tale of how she got her pouch. This is a quiet area where kids can listen to the story of Wambuwyuny inside one of 3 relaxing pods designed to mimic a kangaroo’s pouch.
In the next tale visitors meet Chris, a world record-breaking sheep. They learn how he strayed from his flock, grew the biggest fleece in history and became famous around the world. Chris’s space is an active area where kids can follow a labyrinth that simulates a sheep pen, while learning about mustering and how wool is turned into clothes.
Young adventurers can then move into the reefs and lagoons of the Torres Strait. Here kids can discover the story of Gelam, the boy who became a dugong, swam the breadth of the strait and transformed into many of the features that make up the islands today. In this area kids can arrange stones in the lagoon to create an Indigenous fish trap, or gather and group shells in the way that Torres Strait Island kids do on Erub Island.
Next up children can learn about Trim who became the first cat to circumnavigate Australia when he travelled with Captain Matthew Flinders between 1801 and 1803. In this active space they’ll climb through the ship’s netting, turn the vessel’s wheel, look through a telescope, and experience what Trim may have felt while sailing on the HMS Investigator. Within the netting structure there are quiet areas for kids to rest and relax.
From the sea, visitors move to the billabong where they meet the mysterious bunyip. There they can dance and dress up and are encouraged to act out the story of Australia’s most famous mythical creature. This is an active area where kids are surrounded by projections and the many sounds of the billabong.
Through this narrative trip across the continent, kids are immersed in fascinating Australian stories. We hope these experiences will spark their imaginations and ultimately lead to them wanting to learn more.
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