Keeping Place


In consultation with and at the request of the Dharug Traditional Custodians, the Keeping Place provides a safe space for the return of cultural material from museums and other collecting institutions back to Country. Enabling First Nations culture to be celebrated and conserved. 


Our Aboriginal cultural materials Keeping Place (Keeping Place) is a significant cultural facility in PHIVE. It was established in consultation with Dharug Traditional Custodians, to enable First Nations cultural material and knowledge to be conserved and celebrated on Country. Importantly, the Keeping Place also provides a safe space for the return of cultural material from museums and other collecting institutions back to Country. 

The Dharug Traditional Custodians and First Nations community maintain cultural heritage rights over our Keeping Place.

A space to celebrate and conserve

A Keeping Place is of great significance to Aboriginal communities. It’s a place for the safe keeping and custodianship of cultural objects including secret and sacred artefacts, non-sacred cultural material, artworks and knowledge. 

Cultural material stored in the Keeping Place includes returned materials previously held by institutions, government bodies or private collections, cultural material excavated as part of significant development projects, cultural material currently held in Council’s cultural collection, and significant material donated by the community.

Meet our Keeping Place Officer

PHIVE’s Keeping Place is overseen by Karen Maber, a proud Cabrogal woman and a long-standing active member of the Dharug community. Karen has experience managing Aboriginal cultural material safely and securely. As the Keeping Place Officer, she is also responsible for the operation of the PHIVE Keeping Place, associated educational and public programs, and engagement with the Dharug and broader First Nations community.

Karen Maber

Caring for objects and materials of cultural significance 

The Keeping Place has been designed to ensure best practice preventative conservation and collection management, conserving each item with the utmost care in a temperature, light and UV controlled museum standard environment. Our Keeping Place Officer ensures all stored material are treated in a manner that respects cultural protocols and guidelines on handling and viewing.

Accessing the Keeping Place

The Keeping Place at PHIVE consists of three separate spaces. Enquiries about access to stored material should be directed to the Keeping Place Officer.

Viewing room

The Viewing Room is a technical space that contains non-secret/sacred cultural material. This space is available for hosting Dharug-focused cultural programs with supervised access.

Dharug meeting room

The Dharug Room is an important meeting space available for meetings and the sharing of cultural knowledge. The room can also be utilised as a First Nations community meeting place by invitation or request.

Restricted access room

The Restricted Access Room is where all secret and sacred cultural material are stored. Accessible only by authorised staff and selected Dharug and First Nations community members. This room is not accessible to the public.