Gwoonwardu Mia

About the Gascoyne Development Commission

Project name: Gwoonwardu Mia

Project description: Re-establishment of the Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre, Gwoonwardu Mia.

Project objectives: Rebuilding the cultural presence of our First Nations People in Carnarvon.

Current phase: Completed

Completion: 2019


The Gwoonwardu Mia Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre closed in 2015.

In October 2018, the Minister for Regional Development, Alannah MacTiernan 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 Gwoonwardu Mia and assumed the management order for the building. The GDC commenced on-ground management of the facility in the short term.

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 State Government funding will drive Aboriginal business development and tourism opportunities in the Gascoyne and celebrate the region’s Aboriginal heritage.

In late April 2019, GDC contracted an Interim Manager to maintain Gwoonwardu Mia, make it available for community meetings and NAIDOC activities, and assist with the transition of the facility to the Western Australian Museum.

The Interim Manager and GDC’s Aboriginal Economic Development Officer worked with the Carnarvon NAIDOC Committee to organise activities held at Gwoonwardu Mia from 7-14 July. Over 360 visitors attended the opening and closing ceremonies, a women Elders yarning session and a Q&A based on the theme of NAIDOC- Voice. Treaty. Truth. The Minister officially closed the 2019 Carnarvon NAIDOC week celebrations at Gwoonwardu Mia.

Project status

The Western Australian Museum commenced on-ground management of Gwoonwardu Mia on 15 July 2019. They will use local contractors to carry out important maintenance and repair work at Gwoonwardu Mia.

The Western Australian Museum will be recruiting Aboriginal people to work at Gwoonwardu Mia. They will also be negotiating a lease for the café with an Aboriginal owned business.

Gwoonwardu Mia is currently open for meetings and workshops. The public opening will occur later in 2019.