Gwoonwardu Mia – the Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre was constructed in Carnarvon with the vision of establishing “a common meeting place for the people of the Gascoyne Region where lives are enriched, Aboriginal culture is recognized and celebrated, quality employment and business enterprises operate and where youth are actively engaged in creating their own future”.
Gwoonwardu Mia was situated on Yinggarda country and supports and represented the five Aboriginal language groups of the Gascoyne region, these groups are: Yinggarda, Bayungu, Malgana, Thadgari and Thalanyji. These language groups cover the communities of Carnarvon, Exmouth, Coral Bay, Denham/Shark Bay, Gascoyne Junction and the Aboriginal community of Burringurrah in Western Australia’s north west.
The organisation was owned and operated as a Not for Profit, with an incorporated Board of Management and supported culturally by an Indigenous Reference Group with key elders or representatives from each of the five language groups of the region.
Gwoonwardu Mia also housed a national award winning interactive museum exhbition – Burlganyja Wanggaya – Old People Talking, and a gallery and shop, a cafe, conference rooms which were for hire, an Artists in Residency space, an Outdoor Performance Space and an Ethnobotanical gardens.
Burlganjya Wanggaya – Old People Talking – Listen, Learn and Respect. – Major permanent interpretive exhibition was opened on June 8th by the premier of WA, the hon, Colin Barnett. Winner of the Museums and Galleries National Award (MAGNA), interpretitive exhibition and Overall National Winner for 2012.
For the first time, the Aboriginal history of the region was taking pride of place as part of a rich and vibrant history of the Gascoyne, which extends back into the deep, pre-colonial human past. (For a list of all museams in Western Australia click here.
In March 2015, Gwoonwardu Mia was closed due to concerns over the management of the centre and financial issues, which resulted in insolvency.
Future of Gwoonwardu Mia Aboriginal Heritage and Culture Centre Workshop – Friday 26 October 2018. This workshop was held for Gascoyne’s five language groups to come together and provide advice and ideas on the reopening of the Centre.