The Design Construct program at the University of South Australia (Uni SA) was invited by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) to propose upgrades to the ranger accommodation located at Fish River Station in the Northern Territory.

Fish River Station was acquired by the ILC in 2010 to shelter Aboriginal rangers, employed from the nearby community of Daly River. The rangers’ shelter was a simple wooden structure with a canvas roof for protection from the sun. ILC sought to improve the living conditions of the rangers by retrofitting the current structure and upgrading the facilities to allow for more comfortable accommodation and help them better cope with the demanding climatic conditions experienced in the Northern Territory.

The Uni SA’s Design Construct program engages architecture, engineering and design students in community projects in rural areas, with the students getting an opportunity to aid in building, planning and design. For the Fish River Station project, the students first visited the site in 2016 before beginning the design process, and worked closely with key local rangers throughout the project.

The final design, which followed passive design principles, included a new kitchen and dining facility, upgrades to insect screening, installation of insulation, enhanced privacy, and space to house eight rangers.

The renovation to the roof involved replacing the existing canvas roofing with a steel roof, followed by insulating with Kingspan AIR-CELL Insulbreak 65 under a 100mm air cavity and 12mm plywood ceiling, reducing the reliance on air-conditioning to cool the quarters.

Given the remote location, much of the building process was done using prefabrication methods offsite at Design Construct’s facility in Mawson Lakes and moved to the site in July 2018 for the final building stage.

Kingspan Insulation proudly backed this community project by sponsoring a portion of the AIR-CELL used in the renovation.