Site selected for Western Australia's new Aboriginal Cultural Centre

A world-class Aboriginal Cultural Centre for Western Australia is a step closer to becoming a reality with the selection of a Terrace Road site as the preferred location for the centre.

The site was chosen primarily because of its connection to the Swan River (Derbarl Yerrigan), Heirisson Island (Matta Gerup) and Kings Park (Katta Koomba), which are places of cultural significance to the Noongar people.

The Whadjuk Cultural Authority representatives on the Aboriginal Cultural Centre Steering Committee were asked to consider six different locations near the Swan River (Derbarl Yerrigan). The selection of the site went through an extensive cultural investigation and consultation process, which has been endorsed by the wider Whadjuk reference group for the project.

The Whadjuk Cultural Authority representative group is made up of six members of the Noongar community; three men and three women who were selected by Whadjuk Elders.

The centre now has a joint funding commitment of $102 million with $50m from the McGowan Government, and a total of $52m from the Australian Government which includes the recent election commitment from the Albanese Government.

The project will now be progressed through further engagement with the newly elected directors and cultural advice committee members of the Whadjuk Aboriginal Corporation, established under the South West Native Title Settlement.

Extensive state-wide consultations with Aboriginal people and communities will also commence to help shape the vision and key functions of the centre.

It is anticipated the centre will be opened in 2028.

Comments attributed Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King:

“This centre will aim to be a storytelling place that will provide both indoor and outdoor immersive experiences.

“This could include cultural performances, visual arts, education, community gatherings, digital media displays as well as commercial opportunities.”

Comments attributed to Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan:

“The site selection is an exciting milestone for what will be a world-class facility that celebrates and showcases WA’s unique Aboriginal culture to the world.

“This project presents an immense opportunity for WA to create a globally significant centre where all Western Australians, as well as interstate and international tourists, can gain a deeper understanding of WA’s rich Aboriginal culture through authentic immersive experiences.”

Comments attributed Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney:

“The Aboriginal Cultural Centre will provide an opportunity to celebrate Indigenous culture and share it with the world.

“The centre will be a significant tourism drawcard for interstate and international visitors travelling across Western Australia to experience unique Aboriginal cultural offerings.”

Comments attributable to WA Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:

“The centre will connect to other spaces and places around WA that develop, promote and nurture art, culture, language and heritage.

“This project will unlock economic opportunities for Aboriginal people associated with creative and cultural tourism, including creating pathways for enterprise in local, national and international markets.”

Comments attributable to Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Patrick Gorman:

“In the heart of our city and on the banks of the Swan River (Derbarl Yerrigan), this location is ideal for an Aboriginal Cultural Centre telling the story of the world’s oldest continuous culture.

“Not only will this centre showcase and preserve culture, art, song and languages, it will be a significant drawcard for visitors from across Australia and the world.”

Comments attributable to WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti:

“The Aboriginal Cultural Centre is being progressed through an Aboriginal-led process to give people from all over Western Australia the opportunity to express their vision for the centre.

“It is envisaged the centre will become a powerful symbol of truth telling and reconciliation, giving Aboriginal people from across the state a voice and educating visitors about our shared history.”

Comments attributable to Whadjuk Cultural Authority representatives:

“The site is part of our spiritual identity. It is where the bilya (river) meets the boodja (land) and where ancient waterways were created by the Wagyl as part of our Dreaming.

“This is a spiritual place where we can tell our stories, but also where we welcome others to tell their stories to promote healing and understanding.

“We hope the centre will be a healing and gathering space for Aboriginal people across WA where we can connect as First Nations peoples and share our culture with people from all over the world.

“We see this project as a huge opportunity for Aboriginal people to not only showcase their culture, but benefit from the economic, tourism and employment opportunities the centre will bring.”