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Rottnest Island Lodge approved for $40M redevelopment

The $40 million redevelopment of the Rottnest Island Lodge has been approved to start on two conditions: the implementation of an Aboriginal cultural heritage plan for the site and using the language of the Whadjuk Noongar people to name the new 102-room hotel.

A Whadjuk Aboriginal Monitor will also be present on site during excavation works or ground disturbance activity.

The redevelopment will be undertaken by Perth-based consortium Place Development and will begin in mid-2022.

Work is due to be completed in 2025.

The new Lodge will feature food and beverage outlets, a cafe, a restaurant, wellness centre and two pools.

The restaurant will focus on Australian produce.

Western Australian Tourism Minister, Roger Cook said, “this is an opportunity to re-create the Lodge in harmony with its outstanding natural setting, ensuring that it complements the historic built environment of the precinct, and respects the Aboriginal history of the area

"Importantly, the conditions applied to this redevelopment will help ensure the significant heritage of the site is acknowledged.

"It is important for Wadjemup to embrace its future with deep respect for the past."

That past is a tragic one in indigenous history.

Rottnest was formally a prison island for near 4,000 Aboriginal men and boys between 1838 and 1931. The involvement of the Whadjuk people not only acknowledges this fact but will pay due respect to the Wadjemup Aboriginal Burial Ground where at least 373 Aboriginal men are buried in unmarked graves.

The site is the largest deaths in custody site in Australia and also the largest known burial ground of Aboriginal people.


Irit Jackson, 11th January 2022