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This artwork, created for the AILA Reconciliation Action Plan, illustrates the 65,000 years or so of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as stars above Country. Each white star represents one century, equating to 650 centuries or 65,000 years. The two blue stars represent the two or so centuries of non-indigenous cultures. Artwork by Paul Herzich is a Kaurna / Ngarrindjeri man from South Australia and a contemporary Aboriginal Landscape Architect and Visual Artist

In the spirit of reconciliation distinctive acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past present and future and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.


“Country relates to the nation or cultural group and land that we belong to, yearn for, find healing from and will return to. However, Country means much more than land, it is our place of origin in cultural, spiritual and literal terms. It includes not only land but also skies and waters. Country incorporates both the tangible and the intangible, for instance, all the knowledges and cultural practices associated with land. People are part of Country, and our identity is derived in a large way in relation to Country.” (Dr Danièle Hromek, Budawang/Yuin, Researcher and spatial designer, 2019) 

The team at distinctive commit to supporting the health and wellbeing of Country and being guided by Aboriginal people who recognise that ‘if we care for Country – it will care for us.’




  • Reduce the impacts of natural events such as fire, drought, and flooding through sustainable land and water use practices

  • Value and respect Aboriginal cultural knowledge with Aboriginal people co-leading design and development of all NSW infrastructure projects

  • Ensure Country is cared for appropriately and sensitive sites are protected by Aboriginal people having access to their homelands to continue their cultural practices (Government Architect NSW 2020)

As architects and designers, we engage with people, culture, and histories as well as natural systems including land and water. Within design, prioritising people and their needs is a contemporary design process. However, when following this human-centred approach, landscape and nature are viewed as the second priority.


At distinctive, we recognise the Aboriginal world view that is Country centred where people, animals, resources, and plants are viewed equally and integrated within a network.  

Designing with Country involves three elements; nature, people, and design. Relationships are formed between these elements that include:

  1. People/ Design creates an Architecture / Urban design response

  2. Design / Nature creates a Passive design response

  3. Nature / People creates a Biophilic design response


These different design approaches assist in driving our design work for our projects at distinctive.