Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-2016

Article | Updated 7 months ago

WA Museum Reconciliation Journey

The Museum is guided by the principles and guidelines outlined in Continuous Cultures, Ongoing Responsibilities, Museums Australia 2005. These principles and guidelines cover self-determinatlon; the management of collections; access to collections and information; assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; employment and training; policy formulation; cultural and intellectual property rights and reconciliatlon.

For more than a decade, the Museum has been returning Ancestral Remains to Western Australian Aboriginal communities as part of the Return of Indigenous Cultural Property program. The Museum continues to work in consultation with its Aboriginal Advisory Committee and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs to repatriate remains to communities.

The Museum currently holds the vesting for seven land reserves and is appointed as the management board for one additional reserve. These either are or contain heritage sites registered under the Western Australian Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. The Museum has long sought for the heritage values of these reserves to be in Aboriginal control. Where possible the Museum is actively working with Aboriginal organisations that represent all relevant groups, to divest management of these reserves from the Museum to a suitable community organisation.

Sea of Hands

Sea of Hands from the WA Museum's Sea of Hands Wall held during National Reconciliation Week 2015
Image copyright WA Museum 

WA Museum CEO'S Message

I am delighted to introduce the first Western Australian Museum Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). 

The Museum is committed to ensuring meaningful engagement with, and inclusion of, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in all that it does, recognising the primary rights of Australia's first peoples in their cultural heritage.

The Museum is advised by its long-standing Aboriginal Advisory Commitee on content, interpretation , contested histories and cultural conventions, and our whole-of-organisation commitment to meaningful engagement is enshrined in our mission, vision, values and organisational approach outlined in the Museum's Strategic Plan 2014-25.

This RAP affirms the positive steps that the Western Australian Museum continues to take in building strong relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those of other origins; recognising and respecting the first peoples of Australia, their culture, land and history; and advancing employment opportunities and outcomes, ensuring that the Museum is a culturally safe, respectful, and equitable environment for all.

I would like to thank the Western Australian Museum Aboriginal Advisory Committee, especially its Chair Irene Stainton, Senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisor Deanne Fitzgerald, the members of our RAP Working Group, and all those who worked together to develop our RAP. 

This document is a demonstration of the Museum's continuing commitment to reconciliation and I look forward to working together to reach the targets we have set for the coming year. 

Alec Coles

Chief Executive Officer

Western Australian Museum 

Chairperson's Message

I have been involved with the WA Museum (WAM) as Chairperson for its Aboriginal Advisory Committee for some considerable time and it is pleasing to see that this organisation has committed to delivering its first Reconciliation Action Plan in 2015. During my association with WAM, its personnel have always strived to deliver informative exhibitions whilst providing balance to any debate. Staying true to the interpretation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' cultures and histories, the WAM curatorial personnel have performed professionally and remained steadfast in working towards reconciliation. I look forward to the delivery of the WAM's Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan, which will provide the organisation with the opportunity to take full account all of the positive reconcilation initiatives that it already delivers on through its daily business. By doing this, the WAM will be better placed to build on its efforts when developing future Reconciliation Action Plans.

Congratulations to all.

Irene Stainton

Chairperson of the Western Australian Museum Aboriginal Advisory Commitee

Reconciliation Australia CEO'S Message

On behalf of Reconciliation Australia, I congratulate the Western Australian Museum on the release of its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)--; a Reflect RAP.

In launching this RAP, WA Museum has joined more than 600 organisations around Australia creating real social change as part of our RAP program. The RAP program turns good intentions into measurable actions that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, education and business. Through the program, WA Museum will strengthen its instrumental role in building and promoting reconciliation across Western Australia.

This inaugural RAP builds on the respectful relationships WA Museum has already forged through their longstanding Aboriginal Advisory Committee and their community partnership with the Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company. Importantly, it formalises WA Museum's commitment to be a strong advocate for better relationships and greater respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community.

It is pleasing to see WA Museum commit to a set of sustainable and meaningful actions in this RAP, focused on laying the foundations for relationships, respect and trust. It is also refreshing to see a degree of self-reflection in WA Museum's RAP, such as developing a vision for reconciliation that has shared meaning among all staff. These important elements of the RAP will help WA Museum to bolster the innovative initiatives it already delivers as well as to develop new partnerships, activities and opportunities to advance reconciliation.

I commend WA Museum on its genuine commitment to reconciliation and to improving the social and economic wellbeing of First Australians. I look forward to working together to build a reconciled, just and equitable Australia.

Justin Mohamed

Chief Executive Officer

Reconciliation Australia

For me reconciliation means that I can be proud of the place I work because we will have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples engaging with visitors, telling WA's stories and shaping our museum now and into the future.
Gill Harrison

Our Business

The Western Australian Museum first opened its doors to enquiring minds In 1891, and for more than 120 years it has played a pivotal role in discovering and sharing the millions of extraordinary stories generated by this amazing State. Customers include the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Museum's public sites and its website; numerous scientific, curatorial and corporate clients; and the many people whose lives are touched by the work of the Museum. We are committed to providing the best possible service to all of our customers at every level, and at every point of contact.

Our Mission

We will inspire people to explore and share their identities, cultures, environments and sense of place, and contribute to the diversity and creativity of our world.

Our Vision

To be an excellent and vibrant Museum service valued and used by all Western Australians and admired and visited by the world. 

Our Values

We are dedicated to community value, which means we will:

  • be accountable
  • be inspirational, inclusive and accessible
  • be enterprising and excellent
  • be sustainable
  • recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia.

The WA Museum employs 215 people; including 6 identified Aboriginal people employed at metropolitan and regional sites. The WA Museum has public sites in Perth, Fremantle, Albany, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie-Boulder and a Research and Collections Centre.

Our Current Partnerships

The WA Museum has an Aboriginal Advisory Committee that has been in place since 1997.

The members of the WA Museum Aboriginal Advisory Committee, {WAMAAC) have been involved as key advisors for our RAP. Our WAMAAC members are:

  • Ms Irene Stainton, Chairperson
  • Ms Beverly Port-Louis
  • Ms Sonia Tait
  • Mr John Mallard
  • Mr Tony Calgaret
  • Mr Martin Bin-Rashid

The WA Museum has developed partnerships with Local Aboriginal people and communities at all of its locations. Following is a list of some of the key current partnerships or relationships.

The Western Australian Museum and Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company have entered into a formal Memorandum of Understanding to develop a creative community partnership. The partnership aims to present Yirra Yaakin's award-winning performances in a city-based location and for the Museum to engage and reach new audiences. The partnership commenced at the end of 2012 and will operate until December 2015, with an intention to then review, and possibly extent the relationship. The partnership will deliver special exhibitions, events, performances, workshops and readings by Yirra Yaakin at the WA Museum over the three-year period.

The Albany Muesum works closely with: 

  • The Albany Aboriginal Heritage Reference Group
  • Southern Aboriginal Corporation
  • Department of Aboriginal Affairs - Albany
  • Mungart Boodja - Aboriginal Artists Group
  • Great Southern Institute of Technology - Aboriginal programs
  • Wanslea Family Services Inc - Aboriginal Parenting Groups
  • Tjuntjuntjara Community - Remote community school, and
  • the Wirlomin Language Group

Our Future Partners

The Museum has identified the following groups that it would like to develop partnership relationships with in the future:

  • Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre
  • Fremantle Aboriginal Heritage Walking tours
  • Kart Koort Wiern
  • Fremantle Nyoongar Patrol
  • 100.9fm Noongar Radio Perth WA
  • Perth Nyoongar Patrol
  • The walking tours held in Kings Park

2015-2016 Actions

Over the next 12 months, our organisation commits to:


action responsibility timeline deliverables
The RAP Working Group (RWG) continues to actively monitor the RAP development including implementation of actions, tracking progress and reporting Snr Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisor March 2015 to July 2016

1. The RWG overseas the development, endorsement and launch of the RAP.

2. The RWG will aim to meet at least 3 times per year to monitor and report on RAP implementation. 

Seek guidance input and advice from our WA Museum Aboriginal Advisory Committee Snr Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisor March 2015 to June 2016

3. Members of the WAMAAC to be invited to the RWG meetings to provide advice and input to the RAP.

4. The RWG will report any activities and updates at WAMAAC meetings which are held four times per year.

Develop working relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at all our locations All Site Managers Dec 2015 5. Site Managers will continue to identify, work with and develop relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations in their local areas and spheres of influence. This work will include gaining their assistance to understand potential activities that could be undertaken in our furture RAPs.
New Museum Project (NMP)

Project Director, New Museum Project

Snr Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adviser

Dec 2015

6. Develop relationships and engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Western Australia that the New Museum Project team can work with to development exhibition and program content with including co-creation opportunities. 

7. Establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Working Group amongst core museum staff to coordinate the NMP activities. 

Celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW) Snr Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adviser 27th May to 3rd June 8. The WA Museum will hold internal  events at all its sites to celebrate National Reconciliation Week annually. 
Raise internal awareness of the RAP

CEO WA Museum

Executive Management Team

RAP Working Group

Dec 2015

9. Through the CEO and Executive Management Team meetings, information and awareness raisining on the RAP will be undertaken across the Museum's business and operations. This will include presenting and promoting the RAP to staff and various Advisory committees, as well as ensuring other Museum stakeholders externally are aware of its existence.

10. The WAM RAP Working Group will work within their areas to raise awareness and to provide an understanding of what a RAP is and how their area can contribute to our RAP. 


action  responsibility timeline deliverables
Investigate and deliver cultural development for staff at WA Museum Snr Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adviser July 2015

11. A business case for cultural awareness, capability and development based on our core business is developed, with findings presented to relevant HR/Learning and Development area for their input.

12. Capture baseline data on our employee's current level of understanding around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, cultures and contributions.

13. Deliver Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training to all WA Museum staff.

Celebrate NAIDOC Week

Site Managers

Snr Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adviser

5th to 12th July 2015

14. The Museum will host NAIDOC events at all of its sites. 

15. Museum staff will be encouraged to participate in external NAIDOC events.

16. The RAP working group to lead through their participation in at least one community event.

Raise internal understanding of protocols

Snr Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adviser

Project Director, New Museum Project

July 2015

17. A policy will be developed in consultation with the WAMAAC to ensure appropriate protocols are followed for arranging Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country.

18. Development of New Museum Project Aboriginal Engagement Strategy. This policy will be used for external contractors and stakeholders during the development of the New Museum Project.

19. A policy will be developed for staff to guide their practice and conduct when consulting and engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

20. Ensure signage and collateral across all sites includes acknowledgement of Traditional Owners and is welcoming to Aboriginal audiences. 


action responsibility timeline deliverables
Consider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment

Foundation Director


Human Resources

Volunteer Coordinators

Snr Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adviser

July 2015


Dec 2015





21. The Museum will conduct a scoping study for the development of an Aboriginal emerging curators program.

22. The Museum will support training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by continuing its participation in the Public Sector Commission Aboriginal Traineeship Program.

23. Consider strategies to create employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly as Visitor Services Officers.

24. Capture baseline data on current Aboriginl and Torres Strait Islander employees to inform and plan for future workforce development. 

Consider supplier diversity Finance and Business Development July 2016

25. A business case for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity and how our organisation can develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity program is scoped.

26. Highlight our current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplies, identifying new, commercially viable opportunities that can enhance and further develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity within our organisation in a sustainable manner.

27. Initiate a project to create commercially viable publications related to Western Australian Aboriginal subjects and content, produced with the aid of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and suppliers.

Investigate other opportunities to enhance our contribution to reconciliation

Manager, Learning and Creativity

Volunteer Coordinators

Dec 2015


July 2016

28. The Learning and Creativity team will develop new programs with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander focus for school holiday programs run at the Museum.

29. Develop and implement an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteer stragegy to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to become involved in volunteering at the Museum. 

Accessible Promotions and Events Manager Communications and Media July 2016

30. Develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Media Engagement Strategy which is targeted to reach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences across WA.

31. The Marketing Team will continue to work closely with WAM's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adviser to ensure all Museum promotions and campaigns accurately relfect Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander content and perspecitives where applicable.

32. Explore Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander relationships, partnerships and sponsorship opportunities for launch events. 

Tracking Progress

action responsibility timeline deliverables
Build support for the RAP Snr Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adviser

July 2016


September (annually)

1. We have defined available resourcing for our RAP.

2. Our data collection is able to measure our progress and successes.

3. We have submitted our annual report on our achievements to Reconciliation Australia.

Reconciliation is about coming together to learn, share and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history; not repeat past mistakes and to work towards a better future for all Australian's. 
Deanne Fitzgerald

WA Museum RAP Working Group 

With over 200 staff working across eight sites in a wide range of functional areas, the Museum has sought to establish a RAP Working Group which includes not only its Aboriginal staff, but a wide cross section of teams. Below is the List of Working Group members.

Deanne Fitzgerald Senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adviser
Robin Ho Director, Organisational Development
James Dexter Director, Creative and Regional Development
Bill Seager Creative Director, New Museum Project
Glenn Iseger-Pilkington Curator, New Museum Project
Janine Cox Human Resources Project Officer
Gill Harrison Visitor Services Manager, Fremantle Museums
Brett Nannup Registrar, Anthropology and Archaeology
Clare-Frances Craig Manager, Developmental Services
Karen Bassett WA Museum Foundation
Leigh O'Brien Manager, WA Museum Geraldton
Paul Morgan Manager, Exhibition and Design
Rachael Wilsher-Saa Manager, WA Museum Albany
Ali Martin Manager, Marketing and Audience Research
Les Delaforce Principle Policy Officer
Soula Veyradier Manager, WA Museum Perth
Timothy Cumming Graphic Designer, Publications
Trent Norris Manager, Commercial Operations
Wayne Walters Manager, Learning and Creativity
Zoe Scott Manager, WA Museum Kalgoorlie-Boulder
Helen Kudrich Coleman Graphic Designer, Exhibition and Design
Mara Pritchard Manager, Communications and Media

To me reconciliation means that Aboriginal people and cultures are not only recognised but are instinctual to the way we think about ourselves, our lives as Australians, our place in the world, and the things that we do. It is about living with and celebrating Aboriginal peoples and cultures as equals, and more so, as the first cultures of our part of the world, and as leaders of our pathways to the future.
Bill Seager



Mail address:

Locked Bag 49, Welshpool DC.
Western Australia 6986

Administration address:

49 Kew Street, Welshpool
Western Australia 6106

Phone: 1300 134 081
Phone: +618 6552 7800
Toll Free (country WA callers only): 1800 023 333
Fax: +618 9212 3882