The South Australian government is backing a new $10 million village project with 40 units of affordable housing for Aboriginal elders in suburban Adelaide.

Designed by Adelaide studio C4 Architects, The Elders Village will feature affordable, long-term, culturally appropriate housing for Aboriginal elders to live in independently. The project is supported by a $4 million commitment from the Marshall Liberal Government.

To be built close to the culturally significant site of Warriparinga near the Sturt River in Bedford Park, The Elders Village with 40 independent homes will be delivered through a partnership between the state government, national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander not for profit housing provider Aboriginal Community Housing Limited (ACHL), the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) and the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation (KYAC).

The land, about 13km south of the CBD, is currently owned by the ILSC and will be granted to the Kaurna Pangkarra Property Trust, a subsidiary of native title holders KYAC. ACHL will oversee construction and provide tenancy management services once the village is built.

C4 Architects designed the project in consultation with the Aboriginal community, with the village including disability friendly units featuring kitchen, dining, living, separate bedroom and bathroom to promote independent living of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders.

Culturally inclusive features include an outdoor fire pit and homes feature mobility aids, allowing residents to age in place.

South Australia’s minister for human services Michelle Lensink explained that the village would create long-term housing for Elders in a culturally inclusive environment.

“The new Elders Village has been designed in partnership with Aboriginal people and will provide 40 individual homes for our Elders at risk of homelessness, in housing built and managed by Aboriginal people,” she said.

“This initiative will provide more choices for Elders who would otherwise be accommodated in public housing and enables us to help other South Australians at risk of homelessness as people transition from public housing properties to the village.”

ACHL chair Maureen O’Meara said, “ACHL is proud to be a part of this unique and much needed project as it will provide a secure, stable, affordable, accessible, supportive and culturally appropriate ‘ageing in place’ opportunity for the older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Adelaide.”

ILSC CEO Joe Morrison said the village would provide a culturally appropriate independent living solution for Aboriginal people in South Australia.

“The ILSC believes the joint approach between native title holders, the State Government, community organisations and a federal government entity is the key to successfully delivering a project, which will provide long term social and cultural benefits for Aboriginal elders on Kaurna country,” Morrison said.

Kaurna Nation Pangkarra Property Trust chair Garth Agius said the Aboriginal Elders Village is a welcome opportunity for both the Pangkarra Trust and the Kaurna Nation.

“Adelaide has been our home for thousands of years. This is still our traditional lands, our Yarta, our country Pangkarra, but as the traditional owners we still do not own our own homes. KYAC is appreciative for the support shown from all the funding partners to allow the Aboriginal Elders Village to proceed,” Agius said.

Construction of the village is set to commence in early 2022.

Image: C4 Architects’ concept design for the proposed The Elders Village