Gwoonwardu Mia: a cultural oasis in the heart of Gascoyne

gwoonwardu mia

Nestled on Yinggarda Country in Carnarvon, Western Australia, Gwoonwardu Mia stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of Aboriginal culture that weaves through the Gascoyne region. 


This multipurpose Cultural Centre is a captivating celebration of the five distinct Aboriginal language groups of the area: Yinggarda, Bayungu, Malgana, Thadgari, and Thalanyji. As you step into this cultural haven, you are welcomed by a symphony of stories, art and traditions that have shaped this land for generations.

At the heart of Gwoonwardu Mia lies the Gallery Shop, a vibrant space that showcases the incredible works of regional artists. From traditional paintings that speak the language of the land to contemporary pieces that bridge the gap between ancient and modern, the Gallery Shop is a treasure trove of artistic expression. As you explore the curated collection, you can feel the pulse of the Gascoyne region through the eyes of Aboriginal artists.



A culinary adventure

For those seeking a culinary adventure, Jardilunji Mia is a hospitality training café which offers a delightful experience that goes beyond just food. Here, you can savour the flavours of native ingredients while engaging in conversations that provide a deeper understanding of the local culture. The café is a meeting place where stories are exchanged, and the essence of the Gascoyne region comes alive in every bite.

Gwoonwardu Mia’s Ethno–botanical garden is a living testament to the deep connection between the Aboriginal people and the land. Here, the flora tells stories of sustenance, medicine and cultural significance. Take a leisurely stroll through this garden, where each plant is a chapter in the age-old narrative of survival and harmony with nature.



Culture and creativity

The crown jewel of Gwoonwardu Mia is the nationally acclaimed permanent exhibition ‘Burlganyja Wanggaya – Old People Talking – Listen, Learn, Respect.’ Step into a world where the spirits of the past guide you through the untold history of the Gascoyne region. This immersive experience takes visitors on a journey through time, unravelling the wisdom of the old people through mesmerising displays and interactive exhibits.

One of the latest additions to Gwoonwardu Mia is the ‘Untouchable Stories of the Gascoyne – Touch Table & Listening Seat’ exhibition. This innovative audio-visual experience allows visitors to connect with the profound stories of Aboriginal elders from each of the five language groups. The touch table unveils the sacred narrative of Bubawari and Jingabirdi, two mythical snakes whose dance shaped the very land and waterways of the Gascoyne. As you listen to these untouchable stories, you become part of a legacy that spans generations.



Burrowing bees

In a colourful journey into the enchanting world of the Mungurragurra Burrowing Bees, Gwoonwardu Mia launched an interactive Burrowing Bee colouring-in table. This artistic endeavour offers more than just a visual treat; it’s a chance to delve into the intricate world of these fascinating creatures unique to Carnarvon and the Gascoyne, appearing between July and September. The exhibit provides an engaging and educational experience for visitors of all ages, fostering a deep sense of connection with the unique biodiversity of the Gascoyne region.

Gwoonwardu Mia is more than a cultural centre; it is a bridge between the past and the present, a living testament to the resilience and vibrancy of the Aboriginal people of the Gascoyne. As you explore its diverse offerings, you are not just a visitor but an active participant in the ongoing story of this ancient land. Come listen, learn and respect in the heart of Gwoonwardu Mia, where the heartbeat of Yinggarda Country echoes through the ages, inviting all to be a part of this enriching experience.

For more on Indigenous Australian history, culture and experiences, check out the Indigenous Aus section of the website!


Travel to Gwoonwardu Mia

Rex flies to Carnarvon. Book your flights here and check out the route map below.

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