Island Gateway

The Island Gateway project incorporates upgrades within the main arrival and departure point of Rottnest Island including the Settlement Mall, Wadjemup Museum and surrounds.

The second phase of the Island Gateway project is nearing completion. It includes making the Settlement Mall an even more pedestrian-friendly place and improving services and family-friendly amenities in the surrounding areas.

Project description

The Rottnest Island Management Plan (RIMP) 2020-24 identifies the enhancement of the overall visitor experience as a key initiative. The project encompasses enhanced pedestrian access and traffic management, upgrades to signage within the visitor arrival area, and upgrades to the Settlement Mall, playground and surrounding public realm.

The first phase of the project was completed in December 2020 and included the refurbishment of the Wadjemup Museum to provide new cultural and heritage displays, collections and immersive experiences, as well as an upgrade of the Museum gardens. Learn more about the Wadjemup Museum here.

The second phase of the project involves activating the full extent of the mall, and infrastructure and amenity upgrades to reduce congestion and make the mall and surrounding areas an even greener, more enjoyable, pedestrian-friendly part of the Island. 

Businesses have remained open throughout the works with access via a safe pedestrian walkway.

New welcome statement

The second phase also includes new public artwork to welcome visitors at the main arrival and departure point of Rottnest Island (Wadjemup), located between the Main Jetty and the Visitor Centre.

Rottnest Island Authority commissioned artist team Sharyn Egan and Jahne Rees to design, fabricate and install the sculpture.  The sculpture responds to an overarching theme of Gnalang Wadjemup (Our Wadjemup), integral to Noongar culture yet encompassing universal principles of welcome to all who visit the Island.

Standing at a height of 9m, the sculpture comprises two main elements: a traditional shield made of limestone concrete, entwined with the figure of a breaching whale made of thick contoured aluminium pipe.

The whale, which can be seen when the sculpture is viewed from the side, carries the human spirit traveling from the physical world to the spiritual realm. In Noongar tradition, whales carry the spirits of the departed to Kooranup, the place of spirits in the afterlife.

When viewed from the front, the shield will bear the image of a proud Noongar warrior standing tall with his spear. From this vantage point, the aluminium pipe used to depict the whale will look like prison bars, referencing Rottnest’s century-long history as a prison for Aboriginal people.

Sandblasted text on the shield will give visitors insight into the artwork’s meaning.

A birds-eye view of the sculpture will show a map of Wadjemup, including its salt lakes and the ‘Emu in the Sky’ — a constellation known to Aboriginal astronomers all over Australia.

The installation will occur during November 2021, with an official opening planned for early-December 2021.  See our planned works page for further details.

Project key features

Key features of this project include:

  • Upgrades to mall infrastructure, including improvements to underground water and electrical services
  • New landscaping including a new grassed area and shrubbery
  • Installation of additional shelter and shade elements
  • Improved play equipment
  • New furniture – tables, seating and bike racks
  • Improved signage in the area
  • A new welcome statement artwork for the main arrival and departure point of the island at the base of the Main Jetty.

Estimated project completion

Phase 1:  Museum Refurbishment > Complete
Current Phase: November 2021
Artwork: December 2021
View current impacts of the works here.
Playground: 2022

Learn more about the impacts of the works in our FAQ here. 

Artist impression of the welcome statement sculpture by artist team Sharyn Egan and Jahne Rees

Wadjemup Sculpture

Indicative designs of Settlement Mall and Heritage Common upgrades

Island Gateway Project
Island Gateway Project

Artist impression of Settlement Mall upgrades

Island Gateway Project
Island Gateway Project

Related documents

Download the Island Gateway Design Vision (PDF 9.5MB)


This project has been made possible by funding from the Australian Government and the State Government of Western Australia.

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