Inaugurating our Revamped Amphitheatre3rd February 2023 at The WA Wetlands Conference

A Celebration of Community, Culture, and Nature

Honouring the Past, Embracing the Present, and Building for a Sustainable Future

The Wetland Centre’s Amphitheatre was recently revamped in partnership with Western Wildflower Gardens, resulting in a stunning space that was inaugurated on the 3rd of February 2023, the third day of this year’s WA Wetlands Conference. The ceremony was attended by conference delegates and presenters, stakeholders, staff, volunteers, and members of the Wetlands Centre and Western Wildflower Gardens.

The event began with the Centre’s Elder-in-Residence, Marie Taylor and her grandson Billy conducting a welcome to country and a smoking ceremony at the centre of the Amphitheatre. Aunty Marie spoke about the cultural and historical significance of places of gathering, such as this one. For the Nyungar people, such places were meeting places, where they assembled around campfires, narrated folklore, shared meals, celebrated, and conducted ceremonies. The Amphitheatre has aesthetic and cultural value as a place of congregating amidst natural bushland, that too within a suburban setting accessible to the community.

Iosefo Tapusoa, the Director of Western Wildflower Gardens, gave a moving report of how the early development of the Amphitheatre was accomplished with a tight budget, a tight timeline, and the aim of getting the best out of what was already there while using the most natural and environmentally friendly materials to the greatest extent possible. A lot of care was also taken to carefully relocate or work around the existing trees and bush, so as to have the least possible impact on the natural setting of the Amphitheatre. He also explained the vision to plant out the space with native flora, bushes, and wildflowers.

Mayor Logan Howlett gave a touching speech about how he and his family came to settle in the City of Cockburn, and the story of how the Centre was established, and how the Amphitheatre came to be. He paid tribute to the old and dedicated team of volunteers who built the Amphitheatre. His speech ended with a declaration that the Amphitheatre was officially open, met with rousing applause from the audience.

The Amphitheatre has historic value as it was built nearly 25 years ago by a dedicated team of volunteers with help from the community. It was used by the Bibra Lake Scouts for campfire sessions. However, due to the inherent danger of winds and fire loads around the Amphitheatre, open fires in the pit are no longer permitted. If you intend to visit this place as a large group, you are requested to inform the Centre via email beforehand. Visitors are reminded to be mindful of fire hazards and not start any flames in the fire pit. We, at the Centre, are working on finding an alternative strategy to having open fires. Recently, we had a twilight Poetry walk and reading at the Amphitheatre, illuminated by torches, creating a stunning setting. Built amidst natural bush, this space is unlike no other. Visitors are also advised to be aware of the little critters and snakes that call this area their home.

Amphitheatres have a long and storied history, dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. These open-air venues were designed for a variety of purposes, including theatrical performances, gladiatorial contests, and public spectacles. They quickly became important gathering places for people of all walks of life, as they provided a space for communal experiences and entertainment. Over time, amphitheatres spread throughout Europe and beyond, becoming an enduring symbol of community, culture, and shared history. Today, these iconic structures continue to inspire and captivate audiences around the world, reminding us of the power of shared experiences and the enduring legacy of our history. Our small but stunning amphitheatre is a microcosm of these grand structures, but one that is much more intimate, inclusive and nestled amidst nature. We hope our small stage will bring together its own unique programs, performers and audiences.

The newly revamped Amphitheatre is a testament to the vision of the Western Wildflower Gardens, who partnered with the Wetland Centre to create a space that honours the cultural and historical significance of places of gathering, while also being environmentally friendly. The space serves as a vital link between the community and the natural world, providing an opportunity for people to come together, learn, and appreciate the beauty of the wetlands.

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