The vision is to create a first class museum and cultural hub to celebrate the Hunter's proud Indigenous heritage at Cessnock.
Jerry Schwartz, who owns the nearby Crowne Plaza, has also pledged 4 hectares to establish the Madoo Museum on land he owns at Wills Hill Road, Lovedale.
But an impasse between Dr Schwartz and Cessnock Council has meant there is still nothing to show for the project 20 months after the grand announcement.
Dr Schwartz's original plan was to subdivide the 4 hectares he has donated to the land council from a 56.5 hectare holding.
While the proposed subdivision is too small to comply with the current planning framework, Dr Schwartz says he was given a verbal assurance that an exception could be made to accommodate the museum.
Despite various attempts to progress the matter, Cessnock Council's planning staff have held firm in their opposition to the non-compliant subdivision and insist that a new planning proposal needs to be prepared.
It's a process that could take up to 12 months.
In the meantime, both parties are hopeful that a potential long-term lease arrangement may allow the project to move forward.
However, that is contingent on the Department of Regional NSW allowing the project to proceed, at least in the short term, on land that the land council does not own.
A department spokeswoman declined to comment on a potential lease arrangement.
"The Department of Regional NSW will continue to work with the Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation to deliver the Madoo Museum and Cultural Hub," the spokeswoman said.
Dr Schwartz said he was frustrated by the 'roadblocks' that were preventing the project from being realised.
"Their (Cessnock Council) actions are both unreasonable and unsympathetic to the local Indigenous community. I have called on Cessnock Council to see the bigger picture and approve the land subdivision so the project can move forward," he said.
"As well as being an important development to recognise Wonnarua heritage, we believe the Museum could become a focal point for cultural tourism."
"We envisage that the Museum and cultural centre will attract Indigenous, school and special interest groups to the region, to share with the Wonnarua people their rich history and progress the goal of reconciliation with our First Nations people."
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