WALYALUP CENTRE NEEDS CLEAR CONCEPT
The FPOL Committee of the City of Fremantle were debating the use of the DADAA premises at Beach Street last evening and the better use and/or better return for Council owned properties.
DADAA are moving into the former Boys School and FTI building at Princess May Park and the building opposite the East Street jetty they are using will become vacant in a few months, so expressions of interest will be sought by the CoF for that building.
Councillor Rachel Pemberton suggested the building could be used for the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre, which has failed to make an impact at Arthur’s Head, but I doubt the new location would make it any more successful because it is well away from tourism routes in Fremantle.
It came as a surprise to me that Councillor Sam Wainwright said the City should be clear about what the Aboriginal centre could be, because that focus should have been there three years ago before putting the centre in a former pilot’s cottage in the heritage precinct, which the city in its wisdom made into an unsuccessful arts precinct, where they then also wanted to put a tavern and outside music venue in.
The Walyalup Centre failed to attract overseas visitors and the local Aboriginal community because it wanted to do a tiny bit of everything and lacked focus, creativity and energy.
The seasonal programs on offer were very similar each time and there was no variety. There were also no events for tourists, especially the thousands of cruiseship passengers who might well have been interested in Aboriginal music and dance and story telling.
The centre attracted only a handful of people each month when hundred metres away from it the Roundhouse gets thousands of visitors each month.
The cottage is wrong, the offerings of the centre uninspired and not focussed on attracting people, and the Aboriginal community never embraced the idea and did not make it into a community hub for Noongar people.
I doubt very much that there would be improvement if the centre moved to Beach Street because it is the lack of concept and lack of passion that made it fail at Arthur Head. Who will change that?