Bill Sewell Complex Signage Project – Consultant Brief

The National Trust of Western Australia (the Trust) is seeking proposals from a consultant team experienced in working with heritage places to undertake a signage project that focuses on the stories and buildings that make up the Bill Sewell Complex.

The Trust manages the Bill Sewell Complex on behalf of the community and Government of Western Australia and is committed to ensuring the heritage values of the place are acknowledged through innovative and engaging signage and interpretation.

The Trust acknowledges its properties are situated on Aboriginal land across the state. The Trust recognises Aboriginal people remain the cultural and spiritual custodians of their land and continue to practise their values, languages, beliefs and knowledge. The Trust is committed to working with Aboriginal people to ensure these practices are recognised and included in the conservation and interpretation of its properties and Aboriginal people are consulted and involved in the development of Trust projects and programs.

All submissions should be clearly marked “Bill Sewell Complex Signage Project” and submitted no later than 10am WST on Monday 29th July 2019.

For further information please contact:

Ms Kyra Lomas
Conservation Project Officer
Telephone: (08) 9321 6088
Mobile: 0439 095 628

Project scope

The project is to be guided by the principles, objectives and philosophy articulated in the National Trust of Western Australia Interpretation Strategy (see important information). Signage and printed material should follow the National Trust’s style guide and branding (see important information).The consultant will:

  • Consult with Traditional Owners to accurately reflect the cultural significance of the place and include appropriate Yamatji naming and wording in new signs and brochures
  • Develop interpretive signage incorporating text and images in identified locations
  • Recommend new naming options to rebrand the Bill Sewell Complex site
  • Provide detailed documentation of the proposed signage content and design, for review and approval by the National Trust
  • Facilitate community consultation prior to the renaming of the place and to present the proposed signage concepts to relevant community members and stakeholders
  • Source high quality digital images and obtain reproduction/copyright approvals
  • Produce final signage content and design
  • Facilitate the tendering process and installation of the new signage on site by contractors, and demolition of existing redundant signage
  • Produce final brochure content and design for a self‐guided tour booklet

It is proposed the story of the whole of the Bill Sewell Complex will be confined to one or two outdoor interpretive signs and further information signs regarding significant buildings on the site will be provided at each location. A main site sign is required to replace the existing to facilitate the signage of community organisations leasing the place.

It is expected the research, content and design component of the project, for which this brief applies, will be carried out within a budget of $15,000 +gst inclusive of all fees, meetings, consultation, travel and disbursements. Budgeted fabrication and installation costs of all signs is valued at $25,000 and $5,000 has been allowed for demolition of existing signage, further costs will be discussed upon awarding of tenders.

The date for practical completion of signage and brochure content and design is Friday 8th November 2019, with tender and installation to commence immediately after this milestone approval. Two internal reviews of progress and content will take place on Monday 16th September and Monday 21st October 2019. The date of practical completion for the installation of all signage, printing of brochures and finalisation of this project is 28th Feb 2020. This project will align with further landscaping and conservation works at the Bill Sewell Complex which are all to be completed within the same project timeframe by others.

The successful tenderer will be required to enter into a standard short form contract for consultancy services with the National Trust for the agreed tender amount to undertake these works.

Project Aims

This project is to research, write, design, fabricate and install new site signage to enable engaged and informed visitation to publically accessible external areas of the site. This is vital to achieving major goals of developing a heritage audience for the place. The project will include the consolidation of research already available to prepare wayfinding and interpretive signage content on the property. This will include main site signs, building signage, and some interpretive signage. Further, content, design and production is to be prepared for a tour brochure, condensing the significance of the place into an easy to understand guide for the general public.

It is expected the signage and interpretation content will be enticing, engaging and intriguing. It will provide unexpected insights into a place that is somewhat confusingly named “Bill Sewell Complex”. The interpretation and wayfinding signage will enable a better understanding of the place and encourage
exploration and personal connection with the site. Part of this project will be to work with Traditional Owners to include appropriate Aboriginal naming and to re‐brand with a new site name to be proposed by the consultant through research and community and stakeholder consultation.

Existing signage and interpretation

The site contains a variety of interpretation and wayfinding signs from different periods. An audit of all existing signage has recently been completed and the project includes removal of redundant signage. The City of Greater Geraldton has completed interpretive signage on site that relates to the Victoria Hospital trail. These should be considered and integrated into the approach for the new signage. Close liaison should be maintained with the City.

Location and description

The Bill Sewell Complex is located on the northern edge of the central business district of Geraldton. The site, bounded by Chapman Road, Bayley Street, George Road, and Lewis Street, is a reserve created in the very earliest days of Champion Bay and contains nine principal buildings or groups; the majority of which have heritage value.

Site Management

The site is under management order to the National Trust and is part reserve 3524 for the purpose of recreation and community purposes. A large majority of the buildings within the Bill Sewell Complex are currently leased by community organisations as offices. The Old Gaol building is opened as a craft centre and is run by volunteers. The Geraldton Property Team is the property manager for the National Trust.

Submission information

Priority for selection of the contractor for this project will be given to those with a well‐developed understanding of the special conditions associated in working with heritage places, and with demonstrated experience in content development of heritage places. Wherever reasonably practical products and services from the Mid West Region will be used for this project.

Submissions will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrated relevant experience including credentials and expertise of key personnel
  2. Response to the brief and proposed approach to the project
  3. Use of local products and services
  4. Understanding of the tasks and outcomes
  5. Value for money

The following details must also be included within the submission:

  • Name of the lead consultant, business address and relevant contact details
  • Details of services offered, background and financial standing
  • Total fee including travel and other disbursements
  • Hourly rates for any additional works outside the agreed scope
  • Names and contact details of three referees who have had recent dealings with the contractor
  • Details of any sub‐contractors proposed
  • Level of professional indemnity insurance and name of the company that holds the policy


All submissions should be clearly marked “Bill Sewell Complex Signage Project” and submitted no later than 10am WST on Monday 29th July 2019 at the following address:

National Trust of Western Australia
The Old Observatory
4 Havelock Street

Email address:

Email proposals received by the nominated closing date and time will be accepted provided that they are completed, signed, legible and include all necessary information required to be submitted as part of the proposal.

For further information please contact:

Ms Kyra Lomas
Conservation Project Officer
Telephone: (08) 9321 6088
Mobile: 0439 095 628

Important Information

Existing Resources

  • Bill Sewell Complex Conservation Plan, Philip Griffiths Architects, August 2007
  • Bill Sewell Complex Master Plan, Hassell, 2012
  • Historic and contemporary photographs
  • National Trust staff assistance


  1. Bill Sewell Complex Lot Title
  2. National Trust Interpretation Strategy
  3. National Trust Style Guide
  4. Site Plan of Bill Sewell Complex
  5. Existing signage audit
  6. Project timeline


Copyright of all original material generated during the project will remain with the National Trust of Western Australia. Permission to use of already copyrighted material must be obtained and appropriately acknowledged. Further publication or distribution of all or part of the work produced must receive prior permission from the National Trust.

Insurance requirements

Consultants are expected to hold the following insurances:

  • Professional Indemnity – value $5, 000, 000
  • Public Liability – value $20, 000, 000


The National Trust has been successful in an application to the Mid West Development Commission for funding to undertake a signage upgrade at Bill Sewell Complex to allow operational, directional and interpretive signage to be developed for the place.

The project is funded for completion during the 2019/20 financial year with signage expected to be installed by 31st January 2020.

The National Trust of Western Australia aspires to awaken the community to the value of heritage. To achieve this outcome the Trust wishes to share the stories embedded in the places in its care through interpretation, education and public programs that will activate engagement. The National Trust manages the tangible and intangible values of a portfolio of significant heritage places and collections.

To preserve, interpret and make these values accessible requires a commitment to best practice heritage management including conservation, adaptive reuse and interpretation. Engagement is driven through a range of narratives and interpretive techniques underpinned by knowledge, research and analysis.

This project meets the Trust’s strategic goals of being valued by more people and through activation of its storytelling. Additionally, it meets the Trust’s goals to be valued by more people, stimulates appetite to support the Trust, and ensures a sustainable Trust.

History and Significance

Before European settlement, the area was inhabited by the Yamatji people. The Yamatji people have a strong presence in the region and an understanding of the local Aboriginal history should be a major focus for this project.

The first buildings and structures were erected on the site during the convict period (1856‐72) at Geraldton. In the 1870s‐80s, as the town and port developed further with agricultural expansion and development of mining in the hinterland and the associated railway, the medical officer’s residence and a large hospital were built and the gaol extended. In the 1890s gold boom period, major additions were made to each building, especially the hospital, and warders’ quarters were built. In the twentieth century, further development of the place as a hospital and gaol/lock‐up/prison and latterly as a community recreation complex was associated with significant periods in the development of Geraldton, the region and the State.

It was named the ‘Bill Sewell Complex’ after the Australian politician who was a Labor Party member of the State Legislative Assembly representing the seat of Geraldton. The place demonstrates the development, expansion and evolution of a large and complex site over 150 years, which included a convict depot (of which only portions of walls remain), gaol and well, medical officer’s residence and hospital buildings, including nineteenth century operating room, through conversion of the surviving buildings to serve as Geraldton Regional Prison and their later conversion to a community recreation complex for the town and region.

The major buildings at Bill Sewell Complex were designed and built under colonial architects James Manning, Richard Roach Jewell, and George Temple Poole. David Gray, an expiree, James Kelly, and James Dawson built the three main stages of the hospital.