The Ngunnawal Garden, commissioned by Spirit Super will see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) office building’s courtyard redeveloped to celebrate local connections to land. The project is a collaboration between JGS Property and NADA, drawing on the cultural and creative leadership of Ngunnawal Elder, Adrian Brown.

Adrian Brown Elder and Artist presents DFAT’s new Ngunnawal garden to staff.

Adrian has spent decades sharing his knowledge about traditional land management and healing practices. He is a former ACT Parks and Conservation ranger and a celebrated landscape designer, having won the prestigious Floriade design award three times.

The Ngunnawal garden will feature three landscaped tiers, reflecting different parts of the Mullian creation story. Adrian explains:

“It’s the story of Mullian and the dreaming. The story goes that Mullian – the wedge-tailed eagle – was sitting down resting, and the dingo – the Mirigan – came up and scared Mullian. And when Mullian got scared, she flew and took off, and all the dust came off her wings, and she created the Milky Way.”

Adrian Brown, Ngunnawal Elder

The story is woven through landscape architectural elements such as native planter beds, textured pavers, carved stone seating, “milky way” lighting and sculptures designed and created by Adrian. Each tier of the garden is also inspired by ceremonial sites from around the region. These sites form part of a traditional journey to gain knowledge about caring for Country and its people. Adrian believes the garden will allow visitors to experience the Mullian creation story firsthand and to feel more connected to the land and sky.

“We kind of use different concepts to tell that story and make the story effective so that the people sitting in the landscape feel like they belong to something that’s a bigger picture.”

Adrian Brown, Ngunnawal Elder

Walking through the garden will be a unique opportunity to engage in the knowledge and the dreaming of the Ngunnawal.


The Ngunnawal Garden project is currently in its Developed Design phase.