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Situated on the Bruce Highway in the suburb of Parkhurst at the northern entrance to the city, the centre was established to promote greater awareness of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history and traditions through various cultural displays, guided educational tours and interactive activities.
Following a visit to Canberra in 1983 by representatives of the Central Queensland Aboriginal Corporation for Cultural Activities, Nola James and Ted Mitchell, funding submissions for centre were lodged with the Aboriginal Development Commission and Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Clyde Holding.
The late Nola James and Ted Mitchell, who are credited with much of the lobbying in the 1980's to have the centre established are both honoured at the Dreamtime Cultural Centre, with the main building at the complex named the Nola James Building and with a museum called the Ted Mitchell Gallery, which houses the Vanishing Culture of the Sandstone Belt display.
The Dreamtime Cultural Centre celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2008.
In 2012, Australian rugby league player Johnathan Thurston visited the centre to speak to high school students and to promote the FOGS ARTIE program, which is aimed to achieve results through Indigenous education.
A special Federal Court of Australia sitting was held at the Dreamtime Cultural Centre on 22 June 2016 where Federal Court judge, Justice Berna Collier handed down the Darumbal People Native Title Consent, determining that the Darumbal people were the legally recognised traditional owners of 2500 square kilometres of land in Central Queensland, incorporating Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Marlborough and the surrounding areas.
The Dreamtime Cultural Centre celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018.
In 2020, a number of government, business and community representatives met to discuss the future of the Dreamtime Cultural Centre in a bid for the centre to remain relevant.
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