The Bill Sewell Community Recreation Complex has a new name

The Bill Sewell Community Recreation Complex has a new name

Geraldton Geraldton Heritage Precinct

In November 2019 the National Trust undertook public consultation in Geraldton to review the name for the Bill Sewell Community Recreation Complex. In receipt of Royalty for Regions funding through the Mid-West Development Commission to carry out landscape works, building conservation and new wayfaring signage, the National Trust sought to review the name on the basis that it was no longer consistent with the place’s uses, or its layered history.

Aboriginal consultation was undertaken in 2019, facilitated by Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Corporation to find a suitable name for the site to reflect Aboriginal connections to the place. The name Ngurra Barlunguu was agreed through this process. It means hill camp in the local Wilunyu language, which is currently being reclaimed.

The outcome of the consultation, and consistent with the National Trust’s dual naming practice, was to change the name of the place to The Depot – Ngurra Barlunggu.

Subsequent to the consultation the National Trust was contacted by members of the public and the Ex-Victoria Hospital Staff who were not happy with the proposed change and requested further consultation.

The Trust was happy to revisit the consultation which was delayed due to COVID. Last Wednesday evening sixty people attended the public meeting to listen and express their views. As well as members of the general public there were tenants, members of the Ex Victoria Hospital Staff and the Sewell family present. Earlier in the day the National Trust had also met with tenants, representatives of the city and the nurses group.

A number of names, proposed from the various consultation sessions, were discussed on the night. The meeting overwhelming agreed to adopt Geraldton Heritage Precinct – Ngurra Barlunggu.

The Sewell family was happy with the outcome on the basis that Bill’s legacy would be recorded on the site.

Signage for the site is being completed and should be ready for installation by the end of the year when the name change will officially be made.

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