Northam culture centre promises ultimate Aboriginal experience

Nellie wears kangaroo skins made into bwoka (cloaks), which were slung over the shoulders and fastened at the front.
Nellie wears kangaroo skins made into bwoka (cloaks), which were slung over the shoulders and fastened at the front.

VISITORS in search of an authentic Aboriginal experience are expected in their droves at a new culture centre in Northam.

Bilya Koort Boodja, otherwise known as the Centre for Nyoongar Culture and Environmental Knowledge, will open with a traditional celebration on August 11.

Shire of Northam chief executive Jason Whiteaker said the interpretive centre would provide the local Ballardong Nyoongar community with a central space to share traditional and contemporary culture.

“We see the facility as a cornerstone attraction for the region; a must-see for people travelling into the area and a drawcard for visitors from the metropolitan area.”

Joe Collard helps Maurice Kickett make an artefact.

Centre coordinator Michelle Winmar said the facility was built to link two worlds and to encourage cohesion and integration.

“The centre will include fully-interactive technological presentations, yarning circle, sorry space, cultural artefacts and a cultural souvenir shop,” she said.

“This building has been created with the intention of generating enterprise and employment, with a focus on encouraging and supporting local Nyoongar artists, teachers, environmental advocates and historians.”

Bilya Koort Boodja translated means river, heart, land and the state-of-the-art building is located on the foreshore of the Avon River.

Minson Avenue will be blocked off to create a street party atmosphere for a live stage show, cultural displays, stalls and activities.

For full details, visit Bilya Koort Boodja on Facebook.