'Planning for Country' Commendation 

Planning Institute Australia  WA  Awards 2022

wooditjup bilya (margaret river) precinct

The Wooditjup (Margaret River) Precinct is located at the northern entrance of Margaret River in the southwest of WA and includes Rotary Park, the Old Settlement and a proposed pedestrian access bridge providing connection across the river. The Shire and community have set a vision for the future as a natural and welcoming place that knows and speaks to its heritage and culture and connects community and township.

REALMstudios, together with Stantec, O’Brien Harrop Access and Minang/Wadandi/Bibbulmun/Ballardong Noongar artist Sandra Hill, prepared a detailed Concept Plan for the realisation of this vision. Recognising the opportunity to celebrate the cultural significance of the Wooditjup Bilya to the Wadandi People, the project team set out to shift the conversation towards a more holistic understanding of heritage by reconnecting with its creation story and adopting concepts of Caring for Country. 

Working in collaboration with Wadandi Traditional Owners, the local community, key stakeholders and client, the concept plan was developed using an innovative and adaptive design process. Flexibility in the process allowed the project team to engage with elders on their terms and saw the appointment of Wadandi Elder and artist Sandra Hill to the project team. Through talking, walking, riding, drawing, listening, and imagining, the vision was tested, broken down to understand its essence and then built back up again, to tell the story of its people. The concept plan reconnects with the story of the Magic Man; Wooditj, creator of Wooditjup Bilya (Margaret River) when the land was soft (creation times), prioritises caring for country and uses novel ways for people to engage with country and Wadandi culture through movement & play representative of totemic fauna. 

The plan refreshes out-dated infrastructure as well as proposes numerous environmental, amenity, recreational and functional improvements. It plans for future growth and addresses various user needs, while resolving DDA compliance, access, and safety issues. Key moves include prioritising pedestrian and cycle movements, a new playground and toilet amenities, and future upgrades to the Hairy Marron Cafe. A staging strategy takes into consideration various funding avenues through time with the most significant component; a new footbridge to connect both sides of river, being subject to future funding.
 

Margaret River.png
Bridge Perspective_edited.jpg

Client

Shire of Augusta Margaret River

Country

Wadandi Boodja

Location

Old Settlement & Rotary Park, Margaret River, WA

Year

2021-2022

Design Team

Damien Pericles, Pat Sims, Luke Davey, Jessica Gannaway

Key Stakeholders

Undalup Association (Wadandi Traditional Owners)

Collaborators

Stantec, O’Brien Harrop Access, Sandra Hill (Indigenous artist)