Gwoonwardu Mia

Completed 2019

Re-establishment of the Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre, Gwoonwardu Mia to rebuild the cultural presence of our First Nations People in Carnarvon.

Gwoonwardu Mia interior displays.

Gwoonwardu Mia, Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre is a multipurpose centre that celebrates the culture and country of the five Aboriginal language groups of the Gascoyne Region, the Yinggarda, Baiyungu, Malgana, Thadgari and Thalanyji. The centre is in Carnarvon on Yinggarda land.

The centre opened in 2005 but was closed in 2015 by its Board due to concerns over the management of the centre and financial issues.

In October 2018, the Hon. Alannah MacTiernan Minister for Regional Development and the Gascoyne Development Commission met with the Carnarvon Aboriginal community to discuss the future of Gwoonwardu Mia. Based on community feedback the Minister agreed to reopen the centre. The Commission then commenced short term on-ground management of the facility.

In April 2019, the Minister announced the State Government would allocate $2.5 million towards the reopening of Gwoonwardu Mia, for operational costs over a three-year period, and the Western Australian Museum would manage the facility. The centre was reopened in November 2019 by Hon. David Templeman Minster for Culture and the Arts and Hon. Alannah MacTiernan Minister for Regional Development.

The Gascoyne Development Commission played a pivotal role in securing this funding and providing support for the centre's opening in 2005 and re-opening in 2019. The Commission collaborated with Western Australian Museum in the reopening process of Gwoonwardu Mia and has been working with the Aboriginal community and other stakeholders to facilitate the ongoing sustainability of the Centre. The Commission have also supported Western Australian Museum to revitalise the centre, utilising the venue to host Cultural Tourism training and an Aboriginal Business Development Forum, and sponsoring Wirra Hub to use the facility to provide business support to the local Aboriginal business community.

Gwoonwardu Mia courtyard and amphitheatre.

The Western Australian Museum’s management of Gwoonwardu Mia has developed the centre into an important hub in the Gascoyne for cultural, business and tourism development in the Aboriginal community, for showcasing Aboriginal art and culture, a place for community and business meetings and a popular site for community events.

Western Australian Museum consults with the Gwoonwardu Mia Advisory Committee that links Gwoonwardu Mia with the communities it serves. It is a “two-way” liaison: representing the community to Gwoonwardu Mia and acting as an advocate for Gwoonwardu Mia in the community.

The centre houses a permanent collection as well as exhibitions, Artist-in-Resident program, conference and meeting rooms, outdoor event space, an ethnobotanical garden, gallery shop, seasonal twilight markets and cafe.