Elders say teepee man can stay

Elders say teepee man can stay

An Aboriginal elder says it is okay for Canberra's teepee man, William Woodbridge to stay wherever he likes "in Ngambri Country".

ACT government officials have given Woodbridge, 21, his eviction orders after the University of Canberra student spent six weeks camping in his makeshift home.

UC Student William Woodbridge has built a teepee and is living on Lake Ginninderra

UC Student William Woodbridge has built a teepee and is living on Lake GinninderraCredit:Elesa Lee

His teepee is perched on a homemade raft which has been a local talking point during its stay on Lake Ginninderra.

Government media officers are yet to confirm whether the uni student will be fined for his stay on the lake - initially to protest high rental prices after receiving a fine at his on-campus accommodation.


Officials have, however, confirmed he is in violation of the ACT Lake Act 1976. He has been given until the end of the month to leave.

But the plot thickened this morning. It now seems Woodbridge has support from traditional owners of the lake, in the form of an "Authorisation Certificate" from Ngambri elder Shane Mortimer.

"Mr William Woodbridge is hereby authorised to occupy Lake Ginninderra or any other lake estuary or wetland he may so choose upon to reside as suits his needs in Ngambri Country," it reads.


The certificate was issued by Mortimer on behalf of his “Ngambri Ancestors Elders past and present”.

The law prohibits the use of a boat as a houseboat or place of living in a lake area.

The Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate has been contacted for comment regarding fines listed under the Act.

A directorate spokeswoman previously stated that the ACT Government was helping Woodridge find alternative accommodation.

This reporter is on Twitter: @stephanieando