New look Willagee Community facilities pay homage to the Aboriginal significance of the site

10 June 2020

Roxby Architects to create a new façade for the Willagee Library which will take place over the next two months with artwork responding to the site.

The City of Melville is working with Roxby Architects to create a new façade for the Willagee Library which will take place over the next two months with artwork responding to the site of the Library and George Humes Park as a significant Aboriginal site and the themes of strength, reconciliation and family.

City of Melville Mayor the Hon. George Gear JP said the project is an outcome of the City’s Cultural Plan – Creative Melville 2018-2022  with it’s vision to create a more welcoming exterior that opens up to the veranda and adjacent George Hume’s Park, allowing usable spaces for the community to connect.

 “The park is the namesake of George Humes, a well-respected Noongar boxer and Willagee resident in the 1940’s, well-known for his work in bringing the community together and promoting reconciliation and we want to further honour his legacy by carrying through the key themes in the Willagee precinct upgrades. The George Humes Park is a site of significant Aboriginal significance and also once a place of precious red ochre which was traded to places as far away as Queensland.

“With a busy internal space the library will now be opening out onto the veranda and George Humes Park area inviting the community to use the space in different ways.

“These upgrades will create an attractive space for customers to read, study, connect with others and use the WIFI that will now also cover some of the outdoor areas as well.

The scope of this project includes new front windows, some new external lighting, new furniture, external power points and resurfacing of the pavement area at the front of the library building, requiring a temporarily closure period from Wednesday 10 June, reopening Monday 29 June.  The building work also includes external painting and a new artwork for the eastern facing wall. 

The artwork will be a vibrant, contemporary mural artwork on the east and west facing walls and the new canopy, by artists Kambarni and Matthew McVeigh.

The artists will be working in conjunction with the community through workshops inspired by their mural artwork, a community canvas workshop on Saturday 20 June from 10.30am to 12.30pm and a furniture painting workshop on Saturday 1 August from 1.00pm to 3.00pm. Both workshops are free, suitable for all ages, abilities and levels of art experience.

Future plans for other facilities in the Willagee Precinct are also being developed include upgrades to the internal spaces of the Willagee Community developed by Hodge Collard Preston Architects. The internal upgrade is proposed to include renewed community spaces with an urban theme for the diverse community groups and organisations that utilise the centre. A fresh exterior paint, and new public artwork bringing even more vibrancy to the precinct and is part of the budget requests for 2020/2021.

 “We will be looking at continuing to renew the precinct, over the coming years, with projects being considered for the park and community facility area to create increased connection and usable spaces for the community.”

For more information about the upgrades to Willagee Community facilities, visit www.melvillecity.com.au/willageeupgrade

To register your interest for either workshops with artists Kambarni and Matthew McVeigh please email arts@melville.wa.gov.au or visit www.melvillecity.com.au/willageeupgrade  

Artists Kambarni and Matthew McVeigh are available for interviews upon request

Image: Roxby Architects design concept of Willagee Library

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