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Cultural Reference Groups

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups RIA work with to guide decisions regarding the island’s cultural heritage.

The cultural partnerships that guide decisions relating to Aboriginal heritage

Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) acknowledges the sorrowful history of Wadjemup, and is committed to the shared journey towards understanding and healing. In support of this, RIA consults and collaborates with several Aboriginal groups for guidance on decisions relating to cultural heritage on Wadjemup / Rottnest Island. These groups are instrumental in ensuring the appropriate management of cultural heritage on the island. 

Dandjoo: Be a Voice for Generations. Featuring stories from members of the WARG.

Wadjemup Aboriginal Reference Group

The Wadjemup Aboriginal Reference Group (WARG) consists of six Aboriginal members from different language groups across the State. It provides advice to RIA on matters associated with reconciliation and the management of cultural heritage on the island.

The WARG is comprised of the following members:

Pamela Thorley

A Noongar Menang woman with connections to the Southwest and Great Southern regions of WA, Pamela is a qualified primary school teacher. Currently Pamela is the manager of Aboriginal pathway strategies at MercyCare. She has previously worked at the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre and was formerly a Registrar of Aboriginal Sites.

Walter McGuire

A Whadjuk man with a 30-year career across Aboriginal health, housing, and education, Walter is a leading Aboriginal tour guide in WA. He currently runs cultural tours on Wadjemup with his business, Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences.

Brendan Moore

A Whadjuk man, Brendan is currently the Aboriginal engagement officer for the City of Fremantle and chair at the South-West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council. He has a Master’s in International Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management.

Lindsay Dean

A Minang, Koreng, Bardi, and Karrijarri man, Lindsay lives in Albany. He is the Community Liaison Officer for the Great Southern Region and chairperson of the Karijarri Traditional Lands Association, and sits on the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee. Lindsay has a degree in electronic engineering and has previously worked in information technology.

Casey Kickett

A Noongar woman from Whadjuk, Yued, Ballardong, and Wardandi countries, Casey works in a not-for-profit environmental protection agency. She has a background in cultural heritage, Indigenous land use agreement compliance, and customary access to public drinking water sources in WA.

Kathleen Musulin

A Malgana/Yawuru woman born and raised in Carnarvon in the Gascoyne Region, Kathleen has worked in the health field as a drug and alcohol counsellor and in prisons as a mental health worker, helping Aboriginal women with mental health, alcohol, and other drug issues. Kathleen has worked tirelessly in Native Title Affairs.

Wadjemup Project Steering Group

The Wadjemup Project Steering Group (WPSG) is an advisory committee to the Board, appointed by the Minister for Tourism and endorsed by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs for Stage Two of the Wadjemup Project. Members include Traditional Owners and Elders of Wadjemup, elected by the Whadjuk community.

On 2 June 2020, the WA Government announced the Wadjemup Project, a historic project to reconcile the history of Aboriginal people’s imprisonment on Wadjemup between 1838 and 1931.

The Project is one of the first large-scale and genuine acts of recognition of the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal people.

The WPSG leads Stage Two statewide consultation for the delivery of the truth-telling and ceremony strategies; the Quod conservation and future use strategy; and memorialisation of the Wadjemup Aboriginal  Burial Ground.  

The WPSG comprises seven Whadjuk Noongar Elders including three male and four female Whadjuk Elders (noting one female position is a shared role) as elected by the Whadjuk community in the Stage One consultation.

Members are:

  • Farley Garlett
  • Neville Collard
  • Herbert Bropho
  • Karen Jacobs
  • Sandra Harben
  • Glenys Yarran
  • Muriel Bowie

 Whadjuk Aboriginal Corporation

The Whadjuk Aboriginal Corporation is one of the six Noongar regional corporations established as part of the South West Native Title Settlement. It represents the Whadjuk Noongar people as outlined in the Whadjuk People Agreement Area, which includes Wadjemup / Rottnest Island.

The Corporation has a Cultural Advice Committee (CAC), made up of Traditional Owners who consider matters relevant to culture, and make decisions to promote and protect the cultural interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Rottnest Island Authority consults with the Whadjuk Cultural Advice Committee on heritage approvals and consultations as directed under the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement for Aboriginal cultural landscapes and heritage across the island.