State Government commences historic Rottnest Island Wadjemup Project
Tuesday 2 June 2020
Cultural authority to develop a pathway forward to reconcile Rottnest Island's history
A project to reconcile the history of Aboriginal people's imprisonment at Rottnest Island is one step closer, with the development of a cultural authority process to lead State-wide Aboriginal community engagement.
The Wadjemup Project, named after the Noongar name for Rottnest Island, will be one of Australia's first large-scale and genuine acts of recognition related to the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal people.
It will focus on how best to commemorate the Aboriginal men and boys who are buried on the island, and the use of the old prison building at the historic Thomson Bay settlement known as the Quod.
Rottnest Island was used as a place of incarceration, segregation and forced labour for Aboriginal men and boys from across Western Australia from 1838 to 1931.
More than 4,000 Aboriginal people from all over WA were forcibly taken there and almost 400 men and boys, who died while imprisoned, were buried in unmarked graves on the Island.
The Whadjuk Noongar people are putting in place cultural authority protocols to lead engagement with other Noongar and Aboriginal people across WA.
All Aboriginal people recognise that Wadjemup is part of Whadjuk Noongar traditional country, and consistent with Aboriginal customary protocol, it is proper that Whadjuk people lead community engagement for reconciling the island's history.
Read the full media statement.