Media Release: Acton Waterfront Park gifted new Ngunnawal name

Ngunnawal Representatives
Ngamawari, a new public park coming to the Acton Waterfront
City Renewal Authority
Media type
Date of Publication
30 November 2023

The Hon Kristy McBain MP

Federal Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories

Andrew Barr MLA

ACT Chief Minister


Acton Waterfront Park gifted new Ngunnawal name

As part of the Albanese and Barr Labor Governments’ ongoing commitment to reconciliation and recognition of First Nations culture in the nation’s capital, the future public park at the Acton Waterfront will be known as Ngamawari.

Presented to the ACT Government by local Ngunnawal representatives at a special ceremony today, Ngamawari – which means ‘cave place’ in Ngunnawal language – recognises the cultural significance of the limestone caves flooded during the creation of Lake Burley Griffin.

The name acknowledges these sites and the important role they played for shelter and a meeting place along the Molonglo River.

The official naming comes after the National Capital Authority granted Works Approval for the new park, following significant public consultation.

The ACT Government will undertake a public tender process for construction of the park’s early works in 2024.

It is expected the temporary park will open to the public in 2025-26, followed by the permanent park in 2028.

In addition to this, the National Capital Authority will deliver a new pedestrian path leading to the National Museum of Australia, after procuring master plan proposals for the path.

The existing Acton Waterfront Boardwalk recently won the National Civil Infrastructure Award (over $25M) at the MBA Construction Excellence Awards in Perth.

Both Governments are committed to transforming the Acton Waterfront for all Canberrans and visitors to enjoy.

For more information on the proposed works, visit:

Please note: Ngamawari is pronounced ‘nar-mar-wa-ree’. The new park name will officially come into effect once publicly notified on the ACT Legislation Register in early 2024.

Quotes attributable to the ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr:

“The idea to celebrate and embed Ngunnawal culture and history at the Acton Waterfront has been a popular theme in the ACT Government’s public consultations on this project.

“The ACT Government has been working with Ngunnawal community representatives over the past two years on the park design and it is a great privilege to accept this Ngunnawal-language name from them.

“Future generations will now be able to celebrate Ngunnawal culture and history when they visit the Ngamawari public park and its adventure playground, cafes, native gardens and events lawns.

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain MP:

“With the works approval now granted by the National Capital Authority, the future park at the Acton waterfront – Ngamawari, is one step closer to becoming the vibrant cultural and entertainment precinct Canberra is screaming out for,” Minister McBain said.

“The Albanese Labor Government is committed to recognising and celebrating the deep connection First Nations people have to this land, which is why I would like to thank the Ngunnawal community for sharing Ngamawari with us.

“With an adventure playground, cafes, native plant gardens and outdoor event spaces, Ngamawari will bring the Griffin vision to life – connecting this part of the lake to the city centre, and allowing more people to connect with the rich cultural heritage Canberra has to offer.”

Quotes attributable to Ngunnawal Elder, Dr Caroline Hughes AM:

Ngamawari reflects the truth telling story of this place – a place of significance to Ngunnawal people,” Dr Hughes said.

“There is so much Ngunnawal history in this place that has not been told such as the limestone caves that have been hidden by Lake Burley Griffin at a time when Ngunnawal were excluded from the conversation and development of Canberra.

Ngamawari celebrates and educates all about Ngunnawal Country, history and language.”

Statement ends