Construction of Djiljit Mia community gathering place begins

Community project: Sponsors and volunteers at the Djiljit Mia community gathering place celebrate the commencement of construction. Photo: Jesinta Burton.
Community project: Sponsors and volunteers at the Djiljit Mia community gathering place celebrate the commencement of construction. Photo: Jesinta Burton.

After 15-months, countless hours worth of planning and more than $350,000 in community donations, construction work has officially commenced on Djiljit Mia community gathering place.

The gathering place, coordinated by the Dunsborough Progress Association and overseen by local cultural custodian Josh Whiteland, is designed to pay homage to the traditional custodians and their ties to the Dugalup Brook area.

The location, situated next to Hannay Lane, is one of great significance to the Wadandi people - who once gathered for seasonal celebrations and to set traditional fish traps in the area.

The development will feature a performance area, natural amphitheatre seating, Aboriginal art and sculpture and nature-based play - with repurposed and recycled materials to be utilised for its construction.

Once complete, the gathering place will be the first in Dunsborough to reference the Wadandi people.

Although the project is officially underway, Dunsborough Progress Association project coordinator Trish Flowers said the organisation still needed volunteers on site for labouring, with five required daily for the next seven weeks.

"We have received so much support," she said.

"We've managed to raise more than $150,000 and we've had about $200,000 worth of in-kind community support. To have had that support... it's been amazing.

"Earth moving companies, machinery, site workers, donations of rocks, timber, reticulation, electrics, plumbing, discounted materials, plants - you name it, it's been donated.

"Not only do we have financial sponsors, but we've also received support by way of man-power, equipment, machinery, and labour.

"It's a true community project - we're all coming together to create something together.

"But we certainly do still need more volunteer labourers at the site."

The Cove Dunsborough, an avid supporter of the Djiljit Mia community gathering place, donated $20,000. Photo: Jesinta Burton.

The Cove Dunsborough, an avid supporter of the Djiljit Mia community gathering place, donated $20,000. Photo: Jesinta Burton.

Nature Based Play architect and designer Terry Farrel said the company was thrilled to be working with another great regional community on a project that would create a bond bigger than the project itself.

"It's pretty rare for companies to do this," he said.

"Our company does specialise in doing these community-based projects, but they're really testing. The amount of work Trish has had to put in is just phenomenal.

"It is a bit of goodwill. We couldn't afford to do this all of the time.

"We work a lot with rural communities, because they can really pull it together.

"It creates a bond within the community that is much bigger than the project itself."

The primary sponsors were the City of Busselton, The Cove Dunsborough, Bendigo Bank, RAC and the federal government.

The association has also left the crowd funding initiative open in the hopes of financing a universal access water fountain.