Connect to country – hear the recollections of local Aboriginal elders giving a unique and thought-provoking insight into the history of the Gascoyne region at Gwoonwardu Mia Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre.
If you’re looking to get cultured on your road trip along the Coral Coast, visit Carnarvon for a cultural awakening. WA’s coastal darling just received a bit more colour thanks to the latest exhibition at Gwoonwardu Mia Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre.
Launched in National Reconciliation Week, the region’s cultural hub has unveiled two new permanent exhibits: an audio-visual exhibit called Untouchable Stories of the Gascoyne and a state-of-the-art touch table that brings to life Gwoonwardu Ganyarra, the swirling waters of the Gascoyne. Both exhibitions shine a light on the people and stories of the Gascoyne in a fresh and engaging way using digital technology to help preserve these precious memories for future generations.
Emotions will be stirred as Untouchable Stories of the Gascoyne features incredible stories from Aboriginal elders representing the five language groups in the Gascoyne: Yinggarda, Bayungu, Malgana, Thadgari and Thalanyji. Elders Gwen Peck, Betty Fletcher, Bella Randall, John Dale, and Thomas Dodd from each respective language group share their childhood memories and first-hand perspectives in touching audio, reflecting on their time growing up in the region.
Renowned designer Scott Watson from Multistory has helped bring each extraordinary story to life with the heartfelt recordings complemented with captivating imagery. The sensory overload encourages visitors to become fully immersed and develop a meaningful connection to country.
Each story has been curated by centre curators Antoinette Roe and Norma Lee. They both developed their curating skills during their participation in the 2021 WA Museum Emerging Curators program in partnership with the National Museum, with a focus on providing professional training in Museum practices and developing collaborative partnerships for Western Australian First Nation’s people.
“We are privileged to have put this exhibition together to give our visitors an experience they will never forget. It was an honour to record my Elders and listen to their stories from back in the day. It is also for the future generations to look, listen and learn from our elders that are here with us today,” Antoinette said.
“The elders have been so happy with how the exhibition has come together and they hope their stories inspire generations and visitors to the centre.”
To complement the audio exhibit, the centre has added a new interactive touch table of the Dreamtime Story of the swirling waters of the Gascoyne or Gwoonwardu Ganyarra. The touch table tells the Aboriginal story of two sacred saltwater and freshwater snakes, Bubawari and Jingabirdi and how their relationship affected the land and waterways around the Gascoyne.
When you visit Gwoonwardu Mia, make sure to take note of the other exciting changes happening around the centre. The soul-nurturing hub will soon open a new gallery space and give its gardens a makeover, so watch this space. This is all in addition to the cultural hub’s onsite art store and cafe, making it the perfect place to be inspired in Carnarvon. Start planning your trip to Carnarvon by checking out our top things to do in Carnarvon.
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