Woods Bagot celebrates NAIDOC week 2023

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia in the first week of July each year, to celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about  First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth.

The 2023 theme, For Our Elders, recognises the vital role and cherished position of our Elders in our communities and families across generations. They embody cultural wisdom, trailblazing spirit, nurturing essence, advocacy, teaching, resilience, leadership, hard work, and our deepest connections.

In honour of NAIDOC Week, we are proud to share stories, projects, and learnings from our Elders across the Woods Bagot Australian studios. As part of our reconciliation journey, our studios have also engaged in workshops, guided tours, and deeper conversations, fostering meaningful connections.


Studio located on Kaurna Country.

Woods Bagot is collaborating with an Aboriginal Reference Group made up of representatives from Aboriginal Language groups across Australia. Together, we are creating a brief for the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital (New WCH), which will be on Kaurna land. We are defining together a new typology and design principles in Hospitals which honours the culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in birthing, visitation and indeed death.

At Adelaide’s New WCH, connection to nature is strengthened via the inclusion of a playground that creates a lively environment suited to help all users cope with stress and anxiety. Here, doctors can relax, families can play, and patients can recover among greenery and fresh air. Click the link below for the latest Health Insight.


Studio located on Yuggera and Turrbal Country.

Woods Bagot collaborated with a local Indigenous Consultant for the workplace fit out design at Aurecon Brisbane, which intentionally seeks to draw on local context and acknowledges the richness of the traditional local landowners with references to Indigenous culture in aspect, geometry and material finishes. Design of the way-finding elements and environmental graphics used throughout the tenancy were based on the Indigenous history of the region. The client floor features seven unique ‘Tili Wiru’ lampshades designed and handwoven by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers – a social enterprise of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council.


Studio located on Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country.

Spearheading several of Woods Bagot’s reconciliation activities and leading the charge on a number of culturally enriching co-development projects, Principal Bronwyn McColl is curious about how to better First Nations empowerment and self-actualisation through everyday design practices. “It’s not to speak on behalf of First Nations people, but to help bring those conversations to the fore, and with it, bring insight, care and consideration,” she says.


Studio located on Whadjuk Nyoongar Country.

KPMG and Woods Bagot collaborated with Nyoongar Whadjuk Elder and Indigenous activist, educator and cultural consultant Dr Richard Walley to authenticate, challenge and expand on the design – sharing stories, history and ensuring the outcome was culturally authentic. Dr Richard Walley was able to share the ideas and ideals that speak of his culture and local Nyoongar history during the creative process, helping to inform everything from the ubiquitous necessities to the special inclusions that make the final workplace so unique.


Studio located on Gadigal Country.

As part of the design to upgrade to Sydney’s Central Station to accommodate the new Metro, we developed a unified, contemporary, architectural design approach drawing inspiration from existing historic elements. In recognition of the site’s Indigenous history, the project includes Indigenous heritage interpretation through public art. The art installation by Bundjaluing woman and artist Dr. Bronwyn Bancroft is related to the concept of journeys and connection to the land.

Central Station brick artwork by Bronwyn Bancroft
Featured stories & projects from across our studios