Kambarang honours Wadjemup Elders

Connect to Kambarang

The Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) recently acknowledged the Noongar season of Kambarang and honoured the cultural richness of Wadjemup / Rottnest Island with a program of family friendly events showcasing the stories, crafts and history of the Whadjuk Noongar people and Aboriginal communities.

Connect to Kambarang at Wadjemup unfolded over three consecutive weekends from 3 – 19 November 2023.

This year’s central theme reflected NAIDOC Week 2023 – 'For Our Elders’, which honoured the role of Elders in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and communities.

Record numbers attend Wadjemup Cup

Connect to Kambarang kicked-off on Saturday 4 November, as more than 90 students enrolled in Clontarf Academies from across Western Australia, played in the annual Wadjemup Cup, a round-robin Australian Rules football competition.

Joining the players and Clontarf staff at Wadjemup Oval, were 200 invited guests, more than 100 players' family and friends, and members of the public who cheered on the teams.

Honouring the 17th year of the event being held on Wadjemup / Rottnest Island, the all-day football carnival is a Clontarf Foundation initiative, run in partnership with RIA.

The Kambarang program continued for two weeks with a series of activities, such as bushtucker tasting, basket weaving and art workshops, encouraging visitors to participate in a multitude of different immersive experiences. Live music also took centre stage on the island.

Sight, sound, story and connection: First Lights – Kooranup 

As the sun set on the evening of Friday 17 November, a crowd gathered at Army Groyne to witness the final instalment of Fremantle Biennale’s 2023 acclaimed First Lights – Kooranup.

This spectacle of light, movement and sound transformed the night sky with 160 drones taking flight over Wardan (ocean).

Pioneering new technology and artistic practices to share ancient knowledge, Kooranup revealed deeply moving and connected stories by artists Yabini Kickett, Cass Lynch, Tyrown Waigana, and Ilona McGuire, guided by Whadjuk Noongar Traditional Owners.

The drone show offered a space for contemplation, weaving a narrative over the water and across the sky, which was both beautiful, breath-taking and mesmerising.

You can watch and listen to the Friday performance here.

Reconciliation Action Plan 2021-23

Connect to Kambarang engages visitors in activities and events with a focus on Aboriginal culture, and provides more opportunities to increase understanding of Aboriginal history on Wadjemup.

This initiative forms part of RIA's Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2021-23 (RAP), which is designed to increase the voice and participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the management of Wadjemup / Rottnest Island.

The plan is the fourth prepared by RIA and outlines the authority’s reconciliation journey with a focus on increasing employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within RIA.

The RAP aims to ensure all people can move forward together in an environment of cooperation and understanding, built upon acknowledging the past and focused on the future.

The RIA also works with and consults various stakeholders to progress reconciliation, including the Wadjemup Aboriginal Reference Group (WARG). This is a Cabinet-appointed advisory group to RIA. It was established in 2017 and their role is to advise RIA on all Aboriginal cultural matters in relation to the day-to-day functioning of the island.

Click to read more about the Island’s Aboriginal history.

Click to read more about the Wadjemup Aboriginal Burial Ground.

Click to read more about the Quod.

Click to read more about the Wadjemup Project.