Finalist 2020


Isobar Australia / Cox Inall Ridgeway / Dentsu Aegis Network

Ngarandi makes Aboriginal culture accessible to anyone.

For over 60,000 years generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have passed down traditions, knowledge and stories.

Ngarandi (which means “to know” in the Dharawal language) was created to bring these stories into the spotlight.

Using innovative technology, the app seamlessly layers augmented 3D graphics and sounds over the real-world to recreate Aboriginal stories at locations around Australia.

The first two experiences are derived from the Eora people, the traditional owners of the areas around Sydney. Users can craft a traditional “Nawi” canoe or catch fish using the techniques of Eora Fisherwomen.

Design Excellence

It’s easy to feel that Aboriginal culture is something far away, both in time and place. As a smartphone app, Ngarandi makes Aboriginal culture accessible to anyone.

Ngarandi is easy to use, simply tap on a location and watch the story unfold through beautifully detailed graphics, sound and interactivity. Narration is complemented by text on screen for accessibility.

The stories were sourced under the leadership of Dr Aden Ridgeway, former head of Indigenous Tourism Australia. They were brought to life through co-design workshops and reviewed by Indigenous curators from the Sydney Living Museum.

Design Impact

Findings from Indigenous Business Australia reveal a decline in participation in Indigenous tourist experiences as a result of individual’s inability to find the appropriate information and a belief that in metropolitan regions, these experiences simply do not exist.

We hope that Ngarandi brings Aboriginal history to life for all Australians, particularly those living in urban areas and tourists visiting iconic Australian places. Ultimately it will foster reconciliation by making Aboriginal history accessible, exciting, living and dynamic.

Design Transformation

We believe that Ngarandi can fundamentally change the way we tell Australia’s story.

”This app is the first step in allowing us to gain a better understanding into the stories and cultures of a 60,000 year old tradition of Aboriginal peoples. It does this by giving us a new way to access information and feel a sense of having experienced something unique and different and quintessentially Australian. From these first steps into our past, we activate the memories of the past and connect to these as real day, life experiences.”
– Dr Aden Ridgeway, former head of Indigenous Tourism Australia

Design Innovation

Using a combination of geotagging and augmented reality, the project proposes a fundamentally different way to store, curate and communicate indigenous heritage.

For Indigenous Australians, the land is the core of all spirituality. By connecting places to stories Ngarandi aims to turn all of Australia into a living, breathing museum.

Users are encouraged to participate in each experience while standing at the physical locations that they occurred. For example, users can learn how the Eora women built bark canoes and fished while exploring Sydney’s Circular Key.

Other Key Features

Our vision for Ngarandi is that one day it will hold hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories from across the country. It will become a valuable education resource easily accessed by a broad range of audiences, from education to tourism.

We are exploring partnership opportunities and collaborations to develop the next chapter for Ngarandi.

Ngarandi is a collaboration between Indigenous specialist agency Cox Inall Ridgeway and digital agency Isobar Australia, incubated by Dentsu Aegis Network’s (DAN) Innovation Council.

It was launched to coincide with NAIDOC Week and received wide media coverage.

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