Wiradjuri custodians take Inland Rail staff on cultural tour of Forbes

Ahead of construction work starting on the Stockinbingal to Parkes section in the next few weeks, the Forbes Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre has led an immersive cultural tour for staff of Inland Rail and Stockinbingal to Parkes major contractor Martinus Rail.

Inland Rail and Martinus Rail employees at the Forbes Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre, Forbes

The tour included a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, a lunch of native foods, and the Inland Rail and Martinus staff were hosted on a journey to see sites of cultural significance along Lake Forbes by the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre team.

Martinus Rail has been awarded a $403.5 million contract to design and construct enhancement works on the Stockinbingal to Parkes and Albury to Illabo sections of Inland Rail.

The Australian Government is taking a staged approach to delivering Inland Rail, with construction between Beveridge in Victoria and Parkes in New South Wales prioritised for completion by 2027. The delivery of these sections will enable Inland Rail to connect to existing rail networks between Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and the Illawarra via Parkes and Narromine.

Aunty Wendy, Forbes Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre, said:

“We welcomed the opportunity to host the Inland Rail and Martinus Rail teams on a tour of cultural sites in Forbes. Together we spent time at the yarning circle, and visited the bronze “Family Matters” sculpture and totem poles which tell stories from our community.

“The day was a fantastic opportunity to start new relationships between the Wiradjuri people and Inland Rail, and we look forward to working collaboratively to preserve our cultural heritage along the alignment.”

Melvyn Maylin, Inland Rail Director of Program Delivery for Albury to Parkes, said:

“Inland Rail will be consulting with First Nations leaders at every opportunity to ensure progress on the program of works in southern New South Wales is carried out in cooperation with those First Nations communities.

“The cultural appreciation tour was a great opportunity to discuss the history of our first peoples, be more aware of our environment and make conscious decisions about preserving cultural heritage going forward.

“We would like to thank the team at the Forbes Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre for a meaningful and positive tour, and we look forward to continuing this relationship between the Wiradjuri people and Inland Rail.

Gavin Murphy, General Manager – Major Projects, Martinus Rail, said:

“Here at Martinus we are committed to fostering strong partnerships with Indigenous communities throughout our projects. Our collaboration with First Nations leaders is fundamental to our approach, ensuring that we work in harmony with the cultural heritage and values of the regions we operate in.

“We extend our gratitude to the Forbes Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre for their invaluable insights during the cultural appreciation tour, and we are dedicated to further strengthening our relationship with the Wiradjuri people as we commence this program of works.”

For more information on how Inland Rail is working with First Nations communities, visit our website.

First Nations businesses interested in opportunities for work on Inland Rail are encouraged to register their interest for Supplier Capability Development workshops run by the Inland Rail Skills Academy. The second workshops will be taking place this week in Forbes, Wagga Wagga, and Albury, with a focus on tendering for work.