Pilbara’s troubled Victoria Hotel has been revamped as community hub Ganalili Centre
On the edge of the Western Australia’s Pilbara region, an abandoned watering hole has been given a new lease on life.
The Victoria Hotel once supplied alcohol to the community at Roebourne, 200 kilometres south-east of Port Hedland, but shut its doors in 2005.
“The community felt... it wasn’t really providing a service,” said Michael Woodley, head of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation and lifelong Roebourne resident.
“Less and less people were coming in.”
The building, constructed in 1893 in the centre of the town, was taken over by Rio Tinto and remained vacant and derelict until it was bought by the YAC six years ago.
Mr Woodley has overseen its $6 million transformation into a cultural, tourism, training and community hub now known as the Ganalili Centre.
“Back then, all of our authority was taken away from us and you hid your shame there,” he said.
“It was very scary for kids who grew up in that generation.”
He said the hub will remain a place where local people come together.
“Now it’s more about how can we assist individuals to taking the next step to self-determination,” he said.
“It’s come full circle for the right reasons and the right purposes now.”
The centre, officially opened by Pilbara MP Kevin Michel on Saturday, incorporates office spaces for lease, a visitor centre, the library and a cafe.
It also houses a Yindjibarndi cultural centre with interactive displays, explaining the stories and family trees of the local people.
The redevelopment was funded by $2 million contributions from the Yindjibarndi people, state and federal governments.
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