The National Trust works to raise knowledge, awareness, understanding and commitment to Western Australia’s natural and cultural heritage. Our places and collections tell the stories of our state’s shared history. The Trust’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee and Reconciliation Action Plan continues to guide our approach, and ongoing engagement with Aboriginal communities and Traditional Owners ensures a rich and holistic appreciation of place.
We are honoured to be marking the start of Reconciliation Week with our annual CY O’Connor Lecture, delivered by the Hon Ben Wyatt. A former Western Australian Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Finance, Lands and Energy, Ben will be speaking about ‘Rebuilding community resilience and cultural connections’ in the context of public infrastructure projects, and reflecting on approaches past and present.
We are also pleased to support Reconciliation Week by sponsoring two of the Reconciliation Week banners displayed in prominent locations across Perth and WA.
Another way the National Trust puts our ongoing journey of reconciliation into action is through the naming of our heritage places. Incorporating Aboriginal names into National Trust place names recognises and acknowledges their intertwined histories.
We’re pleased to be nearing completion of our work at the Geraldton Heritage Precinct, Ngurra Barlunggu, formerly known as the Bill Sewell Community Recreation Complex.
After receiving a Regional Economic Development grant through the Mid-West Development Commission to carry out landscape works, building conservation and new wayfaring signage, the National Trust sought to review the area’s name on the basis that it was no longer consistent with the place’s uses, or its layered history.
Consultation with tenants and the broader community led to the adoption of Geraldton Heritage Precinct.
Aboriginal consultation, facilitated by Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Corporation, researched a suitable name to reflect Aboriginal connections to the place. The name ‘Ngurra Barlunggu’ was agreed through this process. It means ‘hill camp’ in the local Wilunyu language, which is currently being reclaimed.
The site is now known officially as Geraldton Heritage Precinct, Ngurra Barlunggu. Signage featuring the new name and interpretation, telling some of the stories of the rich history of the place, is being installed from 31 May 2021.
The National Trust of Western Australia acknowledges its properties are situated on Aboriginal land across the state.
The National Trust recognises Aboriginal people remain the cultural and spiritual custodians of their land and continue to practise their values, languages, beliefs and knowledge.
The National Trust is committed to working with Aboriginal people to ensure these practices are recognised and included in the conservation and interpretation of its properties and Aboriginal people are consulted and have ongoing involvement in Trust projects and programs.