The Depot Ngurra Barlunggu – a new name for an old place

Media Release

In line with other properties in its portfolio the National Trust has investigated dual naming for its site in Geraldton. Dual naming recognizes and acknowledges places have intertwined histories pre and post settlement and contributes to our ongoing journey of reconciliation.

Officially opened in 1988 as ‘The Bill Sewell Community Recreation Complex’, the National Trust believes the time has come to also recognize the multi layered history of this important site and provide a name which encompasses its past, as well as its future.

The current name was given to honour of Bill Sewell, State Member for Geraldton from 1950 until his retirement in 1974 and recognize its use as a community recreation facility. The National Trust took over management of the site in 2008.

As part of a recent project to increase activation of the site and undertake some much needed conservation works, the National Trust considered adopting a new name to better reflect its history and use. The process involved working with the community, including the Aboriginal community, and key stakeholders to reflect on the rich and fascinating history of the site, from pre-settlement, through convict depot, prison and hospital, to its recent past providing recreational and support services to the community over the last thirty years.

The Depot Ngurra Barlunggu has been chosen.

The Depot makes a deliberate reference to the use of the place as a convict hiring depot. From that time on the site has been a place of community service whether for medical needs through the hospital or as a place to incarcerate felons. Today it services locals and visitors alike with a range of community support services and tourism and commercial activities.

Ngurra Barlunggu means ‘Hill Camp’ in Wilunyu. The hill behind the hospital was home to a large camp, made up of people of different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, including Aboriginal people. The camp was locally referred to as the ‘League of Nations’.

The Depot, Ngurra Barlunggu acknowledges the complete history of this site and will be used to bring contemporary relevance to a historically significant collection of buildings in Geraldton.

Bill Sewell’s story will be told on site making important connections to the site’s recent past.

For further information, please contact:

Louise Ivory
(08) 9321 6088