Across their careers, Julian and Barbara have carried out projects focused on Indigenous community planning, housing management and building design. Both Julian and Barbara trained as Architects in the 1960s. Julian’s involvement with Aboriginal housing began in 1973 when he visited Strelley Station, WA, to prepare a report for the Australian Nomads Research Foundation on proposed experimental housing (held at BF W658.81/R1).

From 1975, Julian was employed by the ATSIHP, and established the Alice Springs office. The Alice springs period is documented in Blackout in Alice. During this period, he assisted in the formation of the Tangentyere Council. When the ATSIHP closed in 1978, Julian continued to work for communities in Uluru and Alice Springs in the NT, and Broome, Yiyili and Noonkanbah in WA. 

From 1981 they continued to assist numerous Aboriginal organisations in their negotiations for residential leases and lease development planning for town camps in several towns. These included those in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Elliott, Katherine and in WA, Broome Township. 

The major focus of their architectural practice continued to be projects in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. Most of these projects were funded under the Health Infrastructure Priority Projects (HIPP) under ATSICʼs National Aboriginal Health Strategy, Aboriginal Development Commission (ADC) and other State and Territory departments. The practice worked on 18 NAHS and HIP projects across Australia from 1995 to 2001.

Barbara and Julian’s publications include Black Iron: A History of Aboriginal Housing in Northern Australia for the National Trust (1993), and an Australian Housing Research Council Study into Housing Management training in Remote Communities of the NT- (CGPS 92/93).

From 2008 until 2011, Julian Wigley was a Principal Architect with GHD Pty Ltd. From 2011 until 2016, Julian was the Design Coordinator and Design Advisor for the Northern Territory Government. Since his visit to AIATSIS in December 2016, he and Barbara have largely retired. 


NT Department of Housing and Local Government. Remote Housing . Development of  the Housing Design Guidelines for Remote Public Housing in the NT . Northern Territory Government 2008-2009

NT Department of Housing and Local Government. Community Housing Management Program. Review and assessment reporting. 1997

Nguiu Community Government Council, Bathurst Island: Preparation of 5-Year Housing Management Plan. Nguiu Community. 1994/5

Presentation on Aboriginal Housing Management Planning to the Aboriginal Housing Policy Unit. NT Department of Housing and Local Government. 1995

Research Project No 175: Australian Housing Research Council “Training Programs for the Management and maintenance of housing stock in rural Aboriginal Communities”. CGPS 92/93.

Elliot NT infrastructure report-Julalikari Council, Aboriginal Development Corporation (ADC) and the Department of Community Development (DCD). Town Camp Housing and Infrastructure Program (TCHIPP): Development, Planning Studies. Report on social, cultural, and economic conditions of Aboriginal residents. Preparation of housing and land needs assessment, land management, landscaping and engineering services. Preparation of development plans for 2 town camps. 89/91.


Instrumental in the formation of the Alice Springs town camper organisation, Tangentyere Council, during the period 1975 to 1977. Undertook land negotiations and lease development planning for 12 town camps including the design of new housing and support infrastructure.

Between 1985 and 2002 he worked closely with Julalikari Council in Tennant Creek to negotiate land uses and land tenure for several town camps including funding to implement as large housing and infrastructure programs.

Advised and assisted numerous Aboriginal communities and Local government Councils and organisations in the Northern Territory.

Community Housing


Experienced in designing survey instruments and database design for large community based infrastructure projects.

Completed numerous studies and feasibility reports for health and infrastructure projects based on quantative research and cross cultural consultations.

Undertook research studies for the Australian Housing Research Council and the Northern Territory government into housing management training.

Completed a 12 month study of  Aboriginal housing design from pre colonial times to the 1968 with his Partner, Barbara Wigley. Refer to: Black Iron: A History of Aboriginal housing in Northern Australia. Wigley B and Wigley J National Trust (NT). 1993.


Remote Conundrums in Take 2. Housing Design In Indigenous Australia. RAIA. Sisalation Prize publication Editor P. Memmott 2003

Black out in Alice: A history of the establishment and development of town camps in Alice Springs: Heppell M and Wigley J.J: Australian. National University, Development Studies Centre. Monograph No. 26. (1981).

Training Programs for the Management and maintenance of housing stock in rural Aboriginal Communities. Australian Housing Research Council . (Government Printer Canberra 1994

Black Iron: A History of Aboriginal housing in Northern Australia. Wigley B and Wigley J National Trust (NT). 1993. ( Limited)

Selected reports and studies.

Numerous studies and planning reports including the following:

Land Use Structure Plan and Development Strategy Plan. Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island, NT. J & B Wigley. (2006). Galiwin’ku Community Incorporated.

Integrated Community Housing Management Plan for Nirranggulung Mardrullk Ngadberre Regional Council. J & B Wigley Pty. 2004.

Mapoon: Planning for a Healthy Community Project, A Report to CAT, Wigley, J. and B. (1995).

HIPP and NAHS design reports on town planning and house design projects for 18 projects undertaken nationally between 1995 and 2001.

Desert Homeland Centres: Their Physical Development. Heppell M and Wigley J J. Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Housing Panel. Occasional Report No 4. 1977.

Community Planning Report (and attachments), Barkly Region. J & B Wigley, 1990. Jurnkurakurr Resource Centre.

TCHIP Reports: Town Camper Development Studies: Elliott NT: 10th May 1989. Development Studies: Tennant Creek Town Camps: September 1989.

Series of Reports to the Yungngora Community on Housing and town planning for Noonkanbah Station Sep 1983-84. Western Australian Housing Commission.

Report to the Mallingbah community Broome WA. Community planning and land needs.1983. Project implemented.

Report to the Australian Nomads Research Foundation: The proposed experimental homes for the Nomad group of Aborigines. Strelley W.A. Wigley J. Nomad Foundation 1973.


Selected citing and reference to architectural and planning work.

  • Gunyah, Goondie + Wurley: The Aboriginal Architecture of Australia Paul Memmott Thames & Hudson 2022;
  • Activism: Architect Victoria. Peter Hogg. Autumn 2008
  • The practice of Participatory Planning at Mapoon Aboriginal Settlement: Towards Community Control, Ownership and Autonomy. Mark F Moran. 2004. Australian Geography Studies; 
  • Indigenous Settlements of Australia. State of the Environment report on human settlements. Memmot.P and Moran. M. Australian Government 200;
  • Aboriginal Autonomy: Issues and Strategies. Coombs H.C. (1994);
  • Journal. Aboriginal and Islander Architecture of Queensland. Memmott P. Sept 1994;
  • Journal. Architecture in Australia; ‘Aboriginal Housing’. Memmott P. June 1988; and
  • Just for Living: Aboriginal perceptions of housing in North West Australia. Ross. H .1987 


  • Julian Wigley.
  • Bachelor of Architecture, University of Melbourne (1966). Australia.
  • Post Graduate Diploma: Film and Television. (Animation) Swinburne. Melbourne Australia (1988).
  • Barbara Wigley
  • Bachelor of Architecture, University of Melbourne (1966). Australia.
  • Diploma of Education. University of Melbourne Australia (1972).