What is the Pemulwuy Project?

The Pemulwuy Project is the redevelopment of the land known as “the Block” owned by the AHC.  We are redeveloping the land into a mixed used site which includes affordable housing for 62 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, a gymnasium, commercial and retail space, a gallery, student accommodation, and childcare centre.

Please click on Video Gallery to watch our videos on the Pemulwuy Project and find out the latest news on the project.


Q & A

  1. What is the vision for Pemulwuy?

To breathe new life into the land, and restore a strong and healthy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to Redfern with an emphasis on cultural values, spirituality and employment.

We want our community to come together, to realise we are stronger together.

  1. Will Aboriginal people still live on the Block?

Yes. Pemulwuy will have 62 affordable dwellings for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The land will remain in Aboriginal hands totally owned by the Aboriginal Housing Company.

  1. Why are you re-developing the Block?

We recognise that we can’t go back to the dysfunction that previously was a feature of life on the Block, where we couldn’t provide a safe environment for families and older people.

Redeveloping our land affords us the opportunity for self-determination and to build a stronger platform for future generations, keeping the AHC in total control of our own destiny.

Pemulwuy will be a vibrant community with affordable housing, businesses and community facilities.

  1. Why don’t you just develop housing – why are you developing a commercial centre as well?

Pemulwuy needs to ensure that it is financially viable and sustainable.  The commercial precinct will generate income so that the long term goal of affordable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing is achieved.

  1. How will you fund the new Affordable Housing?

The AHC has been working with Atira, a specialist in student accommodation, which involves granting a 99-year lease for Precinct 3. The lease payment will be paid up-front to which will allot the AHC to deliver on our core objective: to deliver affordable housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

This funding model allows the AHC to build its housing without relying on government funding, and it prevents present and future generations from carrying a financial burden. Most new affordable housing in NSW has been built with funds from the Federal Government. Some housing, like that undertaken by City West, comes from levies placed on other developers by Council.

6.  If the AHC exists to provide housing why is it doing commercial buildings?

Finding money to build affordable housing is one part of the problem, the other is maintaining it once it is operational. When tenants are paying low rents, not commercial ones, there is not sufficient income from rents to maintain buildings and to cover operating costs.

The Government has the same problem with public housing. There needs to be a “subsidy” from somewhere for affordable housing to be viable for the long-term.

The AHC have taken the next step to create a business model which creates a diversification of income from the commercial component of the Pemulwuy project to sustain the affordable housing on the Block and beyond. Our plans will allow us to break away from that vicious cycle of being dependent on the government.

  1. Why is there student housing in the project?

The site is close to a number of universities and colleges and there is strong demand for student housing. AHC research indicated that provision of student housing would be a viable commercial enterprise.  We are unlocking the value of our land by leasing a precinct for student accommodation.

  1. Will the houses just be for middle-class, better off Aboriginal people?

No, we have planned for a mixture of affordable housing. Of course, like all our housing, we expect people to meet their responsibilities as tenants and to be part of a safe community.

  1. Does any other identity own the land?

No, the Aboriginal Housing Company is the developer, and we own the land.   We have engaged a construction company to build the project, but we retain control of the project and ownership of the land, once again allowing the AHC to stand alone without government dependency.

Links to our DA Approvals