An important piece of Sydney’s cultural history is finally under Indigenous ownership having been handed to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council following a lengthy divestment strategy.

In the heart of Redfern, 160 George Street is the former grounds of Redfern Public School, now home to the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, a non-for-profit hub, business space and sports facility in the heart of the community.

The site was purchased in 2010 by the Federal Government’s Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation and granted to the state’s ALC on Friday after years of consultation.

“Large acquisitions like this have many complex layers to work through, now it is transferred, NSWALC is looking forward to working with the community on the future of the site,” NSWALC chairman Danny Chapman said.

The handover gives the land council another culturally significant asset to further engage with self-determination strategies in the area.

“The area is synonymous with the uplift of our people, and we are committed to the site reaching its full potential in its new chapter,” Mr Chapman said.

“We want the 160 George Street site to have a bigger and brighter future for our communities.”

ILSC Group chief executive Joe Morrison said the process is in line with the body’s focus on returning assets for the rightful entitlement and benefit of First Nations people.

“The ILSC has moved away from operating businesses, instead providing support to Indigenous Australians to manage their country and assets in a way that meets the aspirations of their communities,” he said.

The two groups are yet to finalise the acquisition of the NCIE to the state land council, which has operated as an independently owned subsidiary of the ILSC.