your stories

Images from the first Artist Camp, November 2014 © BNI Project

The Blacktown Native Institution Project

The historic Blacktown Native Institution was the site of a series of iterative and interlinked events in 2014 and 2015. Aboriginal artists, community members and leaders across a number of fields came together to develop a vision for the future, share and collect stories, and create new artworks.

The site was activated through two Artist Camps and a Corroboree celebration, which included on-site artworks, performances and ceremony. The project was a collaboration between C3West (Museum of Contemporary Art Australia), Blacktown Arts Centre (Blacktown City Council) and UrbanGrowth NSW.

This website has been established as a keeping place for the stories associated with the site and to facilitate interest, dialogue and engagement in the future possibilities of the site.

In 2015 this website received an award for “Best Indigenous Project or Keeping Place” at the Australian Museums and Galleries National Awards.


The Blacktown Native Institution was a residential school for young Aboriginal and Maori children that operated from 1823 – 1829. Originally located at Parramatta and later moved to what is now known as Blacktown, it is one of the first known sites where Aboriginal children were removed from their parents and institutionalised – a practice that continued until the 1970s.

Learn more about the history of the site


Art has played a major role in understanding and reclaiming this important historical site.  In 2013 Blacktown Arts Centre coordinated The Native Institute Project. Inspired by the potent Blacktown Native Institution site, this exhibition and experimentation site laid the groundwork for the 2014-15 C3West BNI project.

Explore art and culture 


This website acts as a keeping place for stories collected at the Blacktown Native Institution Artist Camps, community meetings, and Corroboree. Through video, audio and text we are sharing stories from all perspectives. You can share your story through the form below.

Stories from the community

Share your stories

Something to share? Or let us know what you think should happen to the site in the future.


Contact Us

Thank you for your interest. We will respond to your enquiry as soon as we can. Very best, The Blacktown Native Institution Web Team.

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