Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre celebrates 10 years | City of Fremantle
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10 May 2024
Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre celebrates 10 years

The Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre marked its 10th anniversary on Friday, with a community celebration.

The event included guest speakers, face painting, a performance by the Mayakeniny Dance Group, art markets, an exhibition of Now & Then photos and a cultural walking tour.

The Cultural Centre is located in one of the old pilot cottages on Captains Lane, overlooking Manjaree | Bathers Beach.

With its opening in 2014, Fremantle became the first local government in Western Australia to establish a dedicated Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

The City of Fremantle’s Senior Aboriginal Engagement Officer Brendan Moore said the Cultural Centre has played many roles over the years.

“It’s provided a safe space for community to meet and share conversations not usually had on the street.

“It’s been a launchpad for many emerging Aboriginal careers, an incubator for business ideas and testing the market for local product, and it’s delivered a new program of events for 60 seasons.”

Mr Moore, a proud Whadjuk, Yued and Wardandi man, joked that it took the City a while to come up with a name for the centre.

“The Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre was opened at a time when the word Walyalup was a tongue-twister, now it’s a household name; Walyalup Koort, Walyalup Civic Centre and the Walyalup Dockers!”

The celebration began with a smoking ceremony, a heartfelt Welcome to Country by Dr Gerrard Shaw and an address by Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge.

Joining the celebrations were many Nyoonger Elders including Dr Richard Walley, Betty Garlett, Clive Morrison and Sharon Calgaret, who had the honour of cutting the ribbon at the official opening ten years ago.

Dr Brad Pettitt, who was the Fremantle Mayor when the Cultural Centre opened, spoke about the progressiveness of Fremantle Council.

“It was actually a radical idea at the time, to have a dedicated cultural centre,” Dr Pettitt said, adding that the Fremantle community should feel proud about the contribution it’s made to reconciliation.

“Despite the referendum result, we’ve come a long way over the past ten years.”

Under the direction of WACC’s new coordinator, Turid Calgaret, there is excitement for an expansion in programming and opening hours in the near future.

The Cultural Centre hosts a variety of activities and workshops in Nyoongar language, weaving, art, bush tucker, boomerang throwing, cultural awareness, woodwork, wildflower essence, music as well as offering cultural tours, exhibitions and film screenings.

It’s not only a place for the local aboriginal community to call their own, it’s also becoming a favourite attraction for visitors to Fremantle.

Image: Dr Gerrard Shaw gives the Welcome to Country in front of the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre