Nyul Nyul Community Packing Shed


The Packing Shed is a purpose-built partially prefabricated timber structure installed at Twin Lakes on the Dampier Peninsula — near Broome in Western Australia — for the harvesting and processing of Indigenous foods on Country. Designed to withstand cyclonic weather conditions it provides a cool natural working environment to support the Nyul Nyul community’s native harvest business.

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Image: Architect Adam Haddow with Traditional Custodian, Bruno Dann, on Country during the on-site assembly of the packing shed.
Image: Constructed packing shed installed at Twin Lakes, Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia
Image: Constructed packing shed installed at Twin Lakes, Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia
Image: The project team during on-site assembly of the packing shed at Twin Lakes in 2019.
Image: The camp at Twin Lakes during on-site assembly of the packing shed.
Image: The camp at Twin Lakes during on-site assembly of the packing shed.
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  • The project's client is Traditional Owner and Elder Bruno Dann - who sought a physical structure to support the community business of wild harvesting and selling bush foods at Twin Lakes on the remote Dampier Peninsula near Broome. A physical structure was required which would allow the community to process their harvest and store food on site to achieve increased output, greater efficiencies and quality of supply. An extremely robust, weather and termite resistant structure was sought to support an enterprise remote from town, allowing Bruno to say on Country while still engaging in the economy of the world.

  • Given the constraints of the remote location, a partially pre-fabricated design allows for on-site assembly while the use of metals is minimised due to community concerns over the disruptive impact of mining. A predominantly timber structure is achieved using native hardwood dowels in combination with termite resistant treated Laminated Veneer Lumber and Plywood. Where possible the innovative CNC machined elements are preassembled for streamlined construction. Responding to the site's ever shifting environmental conditions, the shed leaves no trace when disassembled while the natural look and feel of the materials sit comfortably within the rugged bush landscape.

  • By allowing communities to sort and process native foods on Country, the packing shed facilitates the contemporary practice of traditional beliefs and land practices. Over the years much damage has been done to the Twin Lakes environment through bushfires, cattle grazing and sea farming. The sustainable native harvest business at Twin Lakes is part of a broader land care project to heal and restore Bruno's connections to culture and Country while bringing employment opportunities to other members of the community. It is hoped the structure will become a prototype for similar projects in Australia and around the world.

  • Twin Lakes is located on the Dampier Peninsula, north of Broome, where Bruno Dann and his partner Marion Louise Manson have been working for more than a decade bringing Nyul Nyul country back to life through the Twin Lakes Gunmamirrd and Goolyaroodk Cultural and Conservation Park. Cultural tours led by Bruno and Marion took the project team from the ocean to the freshwater lakes, passing by bush fruit orchards, to learn about the traditional Nyul Nyul diet. Over repeat trips the team learnt a little more each time, ensuring the design would be respectful and reflective of the community's ambitions. By staying on Country the project team were also able to develop an understanding of the environmental conditions the packing shed would need to withstand - from monsoonal wet seasons and cyclonic winds to heat and hungry termites. These walks provided an important cultural experience, giving the architects insights into how it was when the old people lived on the land. Bruno's aim is to keep the cultural history alive for new people to experience because Twin Lakes is a very old, significant place for Nyul Nyul people.