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Microsoft in your community

Restoring a culturally and environmentally important historic site in Western Sydney

The critically threatened environmental site of the Blacktown Native Institution (BNI) within the Cumberland Plain Woodland in Western Sydney will receive ecological and cultural support through a restoration project led by the Aboriginal Dharug community.

The BNI site was in a damaged state when returned to the Dharug people by the Blacktown City Council in 2018 and is considered endangered. The Dharug Strategic Management Group has put together a restoration project in collaboration with SER-Australia, Greening Australia, and Microsoft to protect and restore both the ecological health and cultural heritage of the site. Among the efforts included at the site are revegetation, habitat restoration, natural regeneration and recovery of native wetland plants, and community and Indigenous engagement. Project outreach will support engagement with the Dharug community, local schools and TAFE students, the Blacktown City Council, and Microsoft datacenter employees.

A unique aspect to this restoration project is the historical and cultural significance of the area. The BNI was established in 1823 as a site of colonial assimilation of the local Aboriginal communities. Generations of Dharug people suffered under the impact of the BNI’s relations. A key objective of the restoration project is to also recognize the historical significance of the site and eventually provide educational, ceremonial, and cultural programming.

Through close collaboration and partnerships, the BNI site will become a healthy part of the Cumberland Plain Woodland area for future generations.