The City of Perth is showcasing 150 years of the Perth Town Hall through an online exhibition entitled Kuraree – The Heart of Perth or Koorari – Boorloo Koort-ak.
Commemorating the opening of the building on 1 June 1870, Western Australians are urged to join the City of Perth and the City’s Elders for the official virtual opening of Kuraree – The Heart of Perth on Monday 1 June at 3pm.
The Honourable David Templeman MLA Minister for Local Government; Heritage; Culture and the Arts will officially open the exhibition.
Running for four weeks, the innovative exhibition will explore the romance and mystique of the hall through a range of exciting stories, photos, videos, cultural collections and oral histories from Western Australians across the state.
“The Perth Town Hall has long been a meeting place for the people of Perth and Western Australia,” City of Perth Chair Commissioner Andrew Hammond said.
“Highlighting the Perth Town Hall as the heart of the city for the last 150 years, the exhibition will have something for everyone – from the serious to the eccentric.
“Dancing was a popular pastime for adults and children alike and dances at the town hall provided for a great night out. Roller skating was also one of the more surprising uses of the town hall through the years.”
Built in 1870, Australia’s only convict-built town hall has been a meeting place for Western Australians long before the first brick was laid.
The town hall site sits on a ridge of land called Kuraree, inhabited more than 50,000 years ago by the Traditional Owners of the Perth CBD area, the Whadjuk Nyoongar people.
“Kuraree would have been an important meeting place for Nyoongar people. The town hall site was actually a favourite camp for prominent Whadjuk Nyoongar Miago and his family,” exhibition curator Dr Caroline Bird said.
As such, the City of Perth’s Elders have been heavily involved in developing the Whadjuk Nyoongar story of the Perth Town Hall.
The online exhibition will allow visitors to explore the significance of the site for the Whadjuk Nyoongar people as well as the role the Town Hall has played as a host for public events and the way it has always been a meeting place for the Perth community.
As part of the exhibition, Elder Margaret Culbong will explain what the Perth Town Hall has meant to her people, while Elders Albert and Irene McNamara will share their memories of dancing at the Coolbaroo Club. Plus, tune into the exhibition to hear Elder Farley Garlett recount the story of Miago.
The exhibition opens at 3pm on 1June 2020 – the official 150th birthday of Perth Town Hall – via online portal kuraree.heritageperth.com.au.