Western Australia’s iconic Rottnest Island Museum will re-open today with a new name and $1 million in improvements as part of the Morrison Government’s $17.2 million commitment to Rottnest Island under the National Tourism Icons Program.

The renaming of the tourist attraction to ‘Wadjemup Museum’ reflects the significance of the Island’s Aboriginal heritage and honours the Whadjuk Noongar traditional owners.

Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism Jonno Duniam said the refurbishment would enhance the visitor experience to one of Western Australia’s iconic tourism destinations.

“In April last year, we committed $17.2 million as part of the National Tourism Icons Program for vital infrastructure upgrades at Rottnest Island to improve the visitor experience and ensure the Island’s long-term sustainability,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“This is the first major refurbishment of the museum since it opened in 1979, and it couldn’t be better timed as Western Australia charts a path to recovery after the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“The refurbished museum will give prominence to the Aboriginal cultural heritage of the Island and showcase its outstanding environmental values.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Rottnest Island team under our National Tourism Icons Program to guarantee the sustainability and success of the island now and into the future.”

Upgrades to the museum include $500,000 for the refurbishment of the building’s interior and $500,000 for a new garden.

Senator for Western Australia Matt O’Sullivan said the refurbishment of the iconic Wadjemup Museum was a key part of Rottnest Island’s Management Plan.

“The goal of the refurbishment team was to enhance our visitors’ experiences and better display the island’s outstanding cultural and environmental features, and after having the opportunity to visit, I can say they’ve done an excellent job.”

“It’s significant that this project, which will contribute so much to the present day Rottnest Island community, recognises the history of this place and the role played by many thousands of Aboriginal people who were incarcerated here during the island’s time as an Aboriginal prison.

“Given this history, Rottnest Island has special significance for Aboriginal people across Australia and we do well to remember this, and all that we have learned since.”

“I urge you to enjoy the museum today and then go and tell all your friends to schedule in a visit for 2021. Every domestic tourism visit supports Australian jobs and communities, and we can all make a contribution.”

The key elements of the work include:

  • The creation of five distinct interior exhibition spaces and two exterior activity zones.
  • Installation of new museum cabinetry and lighting system.
  • Interactive multi-media experiences.
  • Inclusion of spaces for temporary exhibitions, functions and events.
  • Links to other attractions and other sites on the island.
  • Modern curation of the history of the island.
  • Activation of areas immediately adjacent to the museum to improve connectivity and identify new diverse visitor experience opportunities.