If you have an interest in Western Australian indigenous history then a visit to the newly opened Bilya Koort Boodja Cultural Centre in Northam is a must. Opened just over a year ago in August 2018, the Cultural Centre offers an interactive experience into the aboriginal history in Northam and the Ballardong region.
A sleek, modern, purpose built facility sat on the bank of the Avon river, the centre focuses on teaching Nyoongar culture and environmental knowledge, and offers tours and workshops along with cultural displays.
From the outside of the building there is a beautiful view of the Avon river and the native bird life, and upon entering the centre you are greeted by a Welcome message, welcoming you to come and learn the stories and culture of the Nyoongar people.
On our visit we were lucky enough to meet two of the locals Frank and Vincent who gave us an informative and entertaining demonstration of the didgeridoo and handmade tapping sticks.
The display area of the centre details the six seasons used by the Nyoongar culture ( rather than the 4 seasons used in European culture) and features displays of aboriginal artefacts; there are also recorded interviews and videos of local Nyoongar people recounting their stories and histories. In addition there are interactive maps of the area showing how the indigenous people used the land around them.
One standout exhibit is on the Stolen Generation and the forcible removal of the entire Nyoongar population of Northam to the Moore River Native Settlement. There are personal stories of forcible removal of children to institutions around Western Australia. Vincent told us his own story of being taken to an institution, thinking he was going for a day trip; and waiting for years, day after day, sitting under the shade of a tree after school, for his parents to come and collect him. There is a wall made up of narrow wooden slats with the names of stolen children and removed families with which to remember and reflect on.
It is well worth spending an afternoon at the centre to see and learn all that it has to offer; and although some of the displays and stories may be distressing it is also an important part of our mutual heritage and as such should be acknowledged. The Bilya Koort Boodja Nyoongar Experience is an excellent place to start to learn and share with each other, and even if you are not in the area I can thoroughly recommend the drive out to Northam for the experience.
Opening Hours: Daily 9am – 4pm ( except major public holidays)
Cost: Adult- $10
Address: Minson Avenue, Northam, WA.
Phone: 9622 2170
- Alliance Francaise French Film Festival 2021 - February 26, 2021
- The Colony Concept, Metricup - February 23, 2021
- Margaret River Farmers’ Market - February 23, 2021
- WOW Illusions, Margaret River - February 12, 2021
- Scitech, Perth - November 27, 2020
- Meelup Farmhouse - October 23, 2020
- ST.ALi Italian Film Festival 2020 - September 16, 2020
- Boddington Caravan Park - July 17, 2020
- Dwellingup Chalets and Caravan Park - July 9, 2020
- Flow Hot Yoga and Pilates Free Online Classes - April 15, 2020