Pride of place: Wadjuk/Whadjuk boodja

Article | Updated 6 months ago

When visitors come to the New Museum in the Perth Cultural Centre in 2020, they will be welcomed onto Wadjuk/Whadjuk land.  As the host peoples of the land on which the New Museum is being developed, we are working closely with Wadjuk/Whadjuk community members to determine ways to represent their stories, traditions and cultural materials in the exhibitions and design.

We recently held a workshop with representatives of the Wadjuk/Whadjuk community to discuss the principles and practices of representing their material and knowledge.  They shared their thoughts on the ways stories, cultural knowledge and significant elements of boodja (country) could be included in the design and storytelling.   They also provided cross-cultural guidance on how to best acknowledge their role as host people, and the cultural protocols needed to create an inclusive Museum.

A group of people stand posing for the camera in the collection

Representatives of the Wadjuk/Whadjuk community in the WA Museum Collections and Research Centre
Image copyright WA Museum 

It was explained that it is important to demonstrate the links between stories as they move across Wadjuk/Whadjuk boodja, and between the different cultural boodjas of the Noongar Nation.

“The doorway to WA is on Wadjuk Country, and what we want is that people understand clearly they are on Wadjuk people’s country.”

Ted Wilkes (2017)

Another major discussion point was about representing and celebrating the differing Aboriginal leadership within our shared history, pre- and post-‘First Contact’, including the role of Aboriginal activists.

“Even if their methods may not always be supported, knowing their reasons why and what drove them is important to our story. Remembering what they gave us.”

Brendan Moore (2017)

It was openly discussed how important it is that parents from multicultural backgrounds feel the New Museum is welcoming and relevant to them and their lives. And importantly that Wadjuk/Whadjuk Noongar parents feel culturally included and safe to take their families and children to the New Museum.

There are many stories to share from the diverse cultures that are present here in Boorloo (Perth) and across the State.

We look forward to continuing discussions with Wadjuk/Whadjuk peoples to develop stories for the New Museum – those stories that celebrate Wadjuk/Whadjuk peoples history and culture in a way their next generation can positively experience, and those stories that are important for locals and visitors to our State to experience.

“We still have an ongoing role and responsibility around our cultural knowledge, and this encompasses before, now and future.”

Karen Jacobs (2017)

The Western Australian Museum acknowledges and respects the Traditional Owners of their ancestral lands, waters and skies.

We acknowledge the diversity that exists in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and that the spelling of words may also vary.

We aim to be inclusive of all nations and welcome feedback to ensure this is reflected in all of our work.