Tour Guides WA celebrate 40th with Nyungar tour in South Perth

Former treasurer Margaret Wilson, original member Constance Teague, president Cherie Toovey and traditional owner Whadjuk elder Kerry-Ann Winmar at South Perth foreshore.
Former treasurer Margaret Wilson, original member Constance Teague, president Cherie Toovey and traditional owner Whadjuk elder Kerry-Ann Winmar at South Perth foreshore.

WALKING along the South Perth foreshore yesterday, a group of tour guides reminisced about their adventures after 40 years of operation..

Tour Guides Western Australia (TGWA) is Australia’s oldest tour-guide body and was started in 1979 to promote employment of qualified tour guides.

Original member Constance Teague said the members wanted to emphasise their home State.

“People used to say WA was too far away, the people are very friendly but there’s nothing to do,” she said.

TGWA president Cherie Toovey said one of their biggest achievements in 40 years was finally getting recognition.

“Tour guides are no longer seen as an addition but as an integral part of the tourism experience,” she said.

“We used to go tour-guiding five to six days in rural WA with no mobile phones and no internet.”

The 1987 America’s Cup held off the coast of Fremantle gave TGWA members exposure, including TGWA treasurer from 1987 to 1989 Margaret Wilson.

“Suddenly WA need to showcase itself to the world,” she said.

“That was when WA tour guides were in demand.”

Traditional owner Whadjuk elder Kerry-Ann Winmar gave the members a guided tour around the South Perth foreshore at the celebration event.

“It’s important to tell our story our way,” she said.

“I want them to have a better understanding of Nyungar culture before colonisation.”

Ms Wilson said recruiting more multilingual tour guides was next on the agenda after the influx of flight deals and cruises to Perth.