Warm welcome to country for visitors

Alicia PereraPilbara News

The first Pilbara site to be part of an Australian-first tourist program which encourages visitors to camp on Aboriginal land and interact with its custodians is due to open imminently.

Peedamulla Station near Onslow is due to open in coming weeks as the inaugural Pilbara site for Tourism WA’s Camping with Custodians program, which is designed to open up a strong two-way exchange between Aboriginal custodians and travellers and provide an extra income source for the communities involved.

It will be only the third site to become part of the program after the opening of the Imintji and Jarlarloo Riwi Mimbi campgrounds, both in the Kimberley, in the past year.

Peedamulla’s camp will be operated by Jundaru Aboriginal Corporation on behalf of the small Jundaru community, who have been custodians at the station for more than 40 years.

Construction of campsites and tourist facilities at Peedamulla for the Camping with Custodians program began in May.

Once complete, the campground will offer tourists a choice of powered and unpowered sites and facilities including gas barbecues, hot water showers and flushing toilets. One of Peedamulla’s several heritage-listed buildings has also been restored to act as the campground reception area and an interpretative centre for Jundaru history and culture.

In line with the program’s key feature, visitors to the station will also be able and encouraged to interact with Jundaru community members and learn about their customs and way of life on the pastoral station.

Speaking at the launch of the Imintji campground in July, Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the program was a win for traditional owner groups and tourists alike.

“Camping with Custodians will deliver a network of commercial campgrounds along key touring routes in the Kimberley and Pilbara but, more importantly, they will provide communities with a means to generate income and employment with an opportunity to showcase their traditional culture,” he said.

“Visitors to the campgrounds will be able to experience a range of additional options such as guided tours, art sales and/or cultural performances, which research consistently tells us visitors want to take part in but often can’t easily access.”

Mr Papalia said Violet Valley in the Kimberley was another site under construction for the program, and Tourism WA was investigating other potential locations in the North West.

The Peedamulla Camping with Custodians website is now live at www.peedamulla.com.au.

You can also stay up-to-date with the campground’s developments by going to the Peedamulla Station — Jun-daru Aboriginal Corp Facebook page.

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