Rottnest unveils a stunning new jewel in its crown

  • Joint media release with:

Hon. David Templeman MLA, Minister for Tourism, WA

09 December 2021
  • Striking new sculpture to welcome visitors to Rottnest Island
  • Artwork celebrates the Island’s rich Noongar heritage and importance as a national tourist icon
  • Designed by WA artists with input from the Whadjuk Noongar community
  • Sculpture entitled Koora-Yeye-Boordawan-Kalyakoorl (Past-Present-Future-Forever)
  • Feature piece adds the finishing touch to significant Island enhancements in time for summer

A spectacular new sculpture to welcome visitors to Rottnest Island (Wadjemup) has been opened today as the Island prepares to deliver an even better experience for visitors this summer.

The nine-metre-high sculpture, depicting a Noongar warrior and breaching whale, puts the finishing touch to a range of improvements and upgrades to embrace the Island’s cultural heritage and ensure the long-term sustainability of WA’s beloved tourist destination.

Tourism Minister David Templeman and Federal Member for Stirling Vince Connelly MP, representing the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, unveiled the $350,000 artwork which is part of a joint investment by the State and Commonwealth Governments.

Called Koora-Yeye-Boordawan-Kalyakoorl (Past-Present-Future-Forever), the sculpture has been constructed in limestone, concrete and aluminium, and creates a powerful statement at the end of the main ferry jetty.

The sculpture is the work of Western Australian artists Sharyn Egan and Jahne Rees who have worked on the installation since April, with significant input from the Whadjuk Noongar community.

Two other significant enhancements have been delivered on the Island during 2021 as part of a $17.2 million investment from the Commonwealth’s National Tourism Icons Program:

  • A $4.5 million revitalisation of the Settlement Mall improving services, accessibility, and family-friendly amenities, featuring new paving, seating and shade shelters; and
  • $2.2 million in new comforts at the Island's premier swimming spot, The Basin, including an ablution building, seating, shade shelters, barbecues and beach showers.

The Commonwealth funding has been complemented by $16.2 million to upgrade marine infrastructure and $30 million to renew the island’s road network and water infrastructure from the McGowan Government from 2020 to 2024.

Comments attributed to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan:

“Rottnest Island is iconic all-around Australia and through funding from the Commonwealth and the state government we are able to further support tourism to the Island.

“The new infrastructure we are showcasing today will significantly add to the visitor experience, while helping to ensure that Rottnest’s culture, history and very special environment are carefully protected and enhanced for the generations to come.

“It is a magnificent sculpture and I acknowledge the impressive talent and hard work of WA artists Sharyn Egan and Jahne Rees.

“This piece is the finishing touch on substantial enhancements to the Island just in time to maximise tourism as we come into the Summer holidays.”

Comments attributed to Tourism Minister David Templeman:

“I am thrilled to unveil Koora-Yeye-Boordawan-Kalyakoorl, which creates a striking first impression when visitors arrive at Wadjemup.

“It celebrates the Noongar people’s ancient and ongoing spiritual connections to Wadjemup, while recognising the brutal history and incarceration of Aboriginal men and boys that occurred on Rottnest for over a century.

“This incredible artwork pays overdue recognition to the Noongar people at Wadjemup and spreads a hopeful message of reconciliation that we can all share.

“Wadjemup is the jewel in Western Australia’s tourist crown and these upgrades totalling more than $60 million will allow visitors to fully enjoy all that the island has to offer for many years to come.

“It’s no secret that families love to come to Rottnest and the fresh new additions to The Basin and Settlement Mall will go a long way to helping people make even more wonderful holiday memories here.”


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