Visitors to the Gwoonwardu Mia Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre in Carnarvon, Western Australia, now have the opportunity to experience and celebrate the five language groups of the region. The Carnarvon centre was re-opened late last year, putting it back on a sustainable path and creating an impressive cultural tourism destination for the region.
Centre Manager Lionel Quartermaine advised the response had been fantastic and locals and tourists were impressed by the stories and experiences noting “Gwoonwardu Mia is hugely important for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people because it creates a respectful space for Western Australians and tourists to experience the culture and stories of Aboriginal people that are unique to this region.
“The stories are extraordinary. They are vibrant and beautiful. They can also be painful and contested. But they are authentic and unique to the Traditional Owners of this land.”
The Centre features an award-winning exhibition Burlganyja Wanggaya: Old People Talking – Listen, Learn and Respect, which shares the stories of Gascoyne Aboriginal people in their own words, using text, images, audio and film.
Quartermaine added “this is an important cultural tourism asset and we want everyone who visits us to walk away feeling inspired by their experiences here.
“This Centre is about celebrating and recognising the Aboriginal culture of the five language groups of the Gascoyne Region.”
For tourists – especially those encountering Aboriginal culture and heritage for the first time – the Centre showcases the influence of Gascoyne Aboriginal people on Western Australia’s cultural landscape.
Gwoonwardu Mia features spacious conference and meeting rooms equipped with video conferencing capability and a magnificent outdoor performance space, grounds and gardens which are based on the region’s plants and how they are used by local Aboriginal people. The spaces are available for hire with a café set to open in February. There’s also an emerging art centre facility.
Gwoonwardu Mia was re-opened in November following an official ceremony involving Traditional Owners, Elders and the Government Ministers responsible for securing the Centre’s future funding.
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