AN Aboriginal cultural and visitors centre is on the way for Cockburn.
Cockburn councillors have voted to set aside an additional $1 million to add it to the Bibra Lake visitors centre.
The commitment puts the council a step ahead of the Barnett minority Liberal government, which has so far failed to fund a long-promised indigenous centre that’s supposed to be part of the Betty’s Jetty waterfront project.
The Bibra Lake centre could include:
• guided bush tucker/bush medicine walks;
• tool-making and spear or boomerang throwing workshops;
• art, music and dance performances and workshops;
• displays of traditional clothing, artefacts and weapons;
• art gallery, shop and cafe;
• a point of contact for people to book Welcome to Country ceremonies and dance troupes;
• indigenous educational programs to fit with the school curriculum.
The council is already spending $14.6m on Bibra Lake over the next six years and hopes the additional funds can be “sourced from external grant funding”.
Mayor Logan Howlett says “the council’s endorsement of the proposed Aboriginal cultural and visitors centre is another important step on its journey of recognition, understanding and commitment to strengthening its relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the district”.
The centre will likely go in on the western side of Bibra Lake amongst the natural bushland setting. The eastern side is “culturally unsuitable for Aboriginal men,” the council report notes.
“The wetland education area is considered to be a place of cultural significance for Aboriginal women and children, but it is not culturally appropriate for Aboriginal men to have an ongoing presence there.”
The centre will cost about $101,000 a year to run once it gets up in 2019.