Palm Island Youth Centre

Palm Island, Queensland, Australia, 2002-2004

by Malcolm Price

The Palm Island Youth Centre emerged from a complex consultation with the Palm Island community and negotiations with various government departments.  I was working for the Queensland Department of Housing’s Community Renewal program at the time and was initially asked to consult with the community to establish a brief for a new youth centre in partnership with the Queensland PCYC.

It was obvious that resolute transparent communication was needed in order to meet the needs and desires of the Palm Island community rather then the government bureaucrats.  The partnership with the PCYC was a particularly sensitive issue given the history of Palm Island. (see Palm Island: Through a long lens or a brief history,_Queensland)  As a result I employed the new methodology of Storyboarding, The storyboard recorded all aspects of the projects development from the time it was commenced to the time design and funding were locked in.  As the project proceeded, pages of the storyboard were posted in public places within the community.  The storyboard also proved to be a strong marketing tool when negotiating with various government departments for both capital and recurrent funding for the new centre.

The comprehensive story of the development of the project is in the storyboard.  Press pages with purple border to download PDF sections of storyboard.

My role in the project gradually expanded from conducting the consultation to developing the sketch design with the community.  After the approved sketch design was agreed my initial role in the project changed as the Project Services architect Rosemary Axonsmith took over the design development and project management aspects of the project.  The Queensland Department of Public Works provided significant support both in constructing the facility and in providing training and apprenticeship options for local people.

My role at this point became one of writing submissions and negotiating with various government departments for funding.  In one instance I had to develop an employment and training plan for the Palm Island community in relation to a funding application to the National Training Authority.

The building was finished in early 2005.

The opening of the new facility in 2005, unfortunately was marred by controversy as it was caught up in the untimely death of Cameron Doomagee and the subsequent troubles.  (see )

Most feedback is that the new facility has functioned well in the intervening years.