Listen, Learn & Acknowledge

Our studios across Australia are committed to engaging with reconciliation and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people not only through our projects, but through our social and cultural networks.

Our RAP journey

Championed through Melbourne Landscape Architect, Thomas Flugge, who formed a close working relationship with First Nations engagement consultants, Kulpa Mardita, throughout the development of his Master’s project through RMIT University (2019).

Thomas’ project, titled ‘Enclaves and Field Conservation’, maps the New South Wales-based Culpra Station site through the lens of different fields of knowledge: conservation, Aboriginal cultural values and agricultural values. The project seeks opportunities with Country that intersect these fields of knowledge.

This was foundational in forming McGregor Coxall’s relationship with Kulpa Mardita Director, Barkandji knowledge holder and mother, Sophia Pearce.

Kulpa Mardita are integral part to our collective reconciliation journey with ambitions of establishing long-term organisational relationships and enduring collaborations on projects.As designers, we recognize that our sphere of influence is far reaching, and we have the power and the responsibility to create positive change within our profession and the built environment.

It is important to acknowledge and recognise the past to understand the impacts of colonization and address historic and ongoing injustices. It is this understanding that has led McGregor Coxall to embark on embedding a Reconciliation Action Plan into our practice – an ongoing journey that will become part of McGregor Coxall as practice, not process.

The RAP working group will continue to work closely with Kulpa Mardita and RMIT University to build cultural awareness and capacity.

We acknowledge Australia’s First Peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the unceded lands on which we shape our environment.

We recognise the deep connection of Australia’s First Peoples to Country and community, and celebrate their profound knowledge systems which remain central to the health and prosperity of the landscapes and waterways we enjoy today.


For over 150 years following European invasion, there has been significant frontier violence across this continent. Until we acknowledge our shared past, we cannot talk about our shared future. If we are to reconcile our colonial past and present, it is critical that we acknowledge the ongoing impacts of colonisation, such as the devastating trauma and grief suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because of past government policies and the forcible removal of children from their families.

We recognise the Uluru Statement from The Heart and support the Makarrata Agreement and the need for constitutional reforms that empower First Peoples to take a rightful place in their own country.

“When we (First Peoples) have power over our destiny, our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.”1

McGregor Coxall is in the early stages of the reconciliation journey. We have established a RAP Working Group, drawing on differing expertise and understandings to develop tangible actions that aid the development of our personal and professional relationships with First Nations Peoples, Country and knowledge.

On this journey we want to recognise, acknowledge, and reconcile our colonial past and present. We hope to create a workplace that acknowledges the true history of this country and celebrates the 65,000 thousand years-plus of accumulated knowledge and culture of Australia’s First Nations’ peoples.

We will seek to commemorate this knowledge and build opportunities for First Nations People into our organisation and projects. McGregor Coxall acknowledges that First Peoples’ self-determination is a human right as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.2 We also recognise as individuals and professionals on this reconciliation journey, we must;3

+ Acknowledge sovereignty
+ Be honest about our history
+ Safeguard Aboriginal cultural heritage
+ Seek Aboriginal representation in all areas and at all levels of civic society
+ Pay reparations

We are committed to fulfilling our obligations to reconciliation by stepping into mutually respectful relationships with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people – relationships that are established in trust and informed by principles of self-determination, reciprocity, and cultural integrity.
These relationships are not exclusive to people but includes our organisational relationship with Country. Alison Page quotes Indigenous researcher, Daniéle Hromek’s poetic definition of Country:

“Country soars high into the atmosphere, deep into the planet crust and far into the oceans… caring for Country is not only caring for land, it is caring for ourselves.”4Alison Page takes this further in relation to design practice “Just as trees, mountains and rivers contain stories, the design of new places, objects and systems can be a purposeful extension of Country and imbue meaning and story into them, so that as we engage with them over time, multiple narratives are strengthened”.4

As built environment professionals, we recognise that design and construction of our projects takes place on stolen land – and to reconcile this approach, we must instil a culture of healing and caring for Country now. As non-Indigenous practitioners, we recognise that a Welcome to Country is an invitation onto Country, and to be part of Country. With that invitation comes a substantial responsibility – to Embrace Country, to Heal Country and to Care for Country. Through building a relationship with Country and adopting it in our everyday lives, it offers an opportunity for unity with First Nations people and non-Indigenous Australians.

We recognise and value the sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges that spans millennia, and that this knowledge has the power to create positive change across Australia. Our journey of reconciliation will recognise and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge holders and create a collaborative space of cultural safety and cross-cultural respect.

This approach to building mutually beneficial and respectful relationships across our organisation, projects and community will contribute to the ongoing efforts of reconciliation in Australia and the broader decolonisation of Indigenous peoples universally. As a global design practice, we recognise that our sphere of influence is far reaching, and we have the power and the responsibility to create positive change within our profession and the built environment.

McGregor Coxall sees reconciliation as a collective journey of shared learning and understanding leading towards a prosperous future for Australia’s First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous people alike.