Murray Districts Aboriginal Association's Bindjareb Park centre to reopen its doors

IT’S BEEN five years in the making but on Tuesday the Murray Districts Aboriginal Association will hold a reopening ceremony at the Bindjareb Park precinct.

Pinjarra-raised Karrie-Anne Kearing-Salmon, her husband Mark Salmon and her mother Gloria Kearing have worked alongside many from Pinjarra’s Indigenous community over the years with the hope of returning the precinct to the hub it was several years ago – a centre for local Noongar people to meet and engage in community activities and cultural events.

“It’s a place of belonging – a hub of culture,” Ms Kearing-Salmon said.

“I can’t wait until Wednesday; it will be the first day we’ll be properly open and I’ll be happy to get all the youth programs running here again.”

With the help of a Lotterywest grant, the majority of the centre is brand new, including the kitchen, stage, half basketball court, vegetable garden and display cases featuring notable Aboriginals who came from the area.

Ms Kearing-Salmon said it was important for the youth who came to the centre to know other Aboriginals who had come from Pinjarra and had gone somewhere, including AFL player Harley Bennell and artist Reynold Hart.

By instilling this in the youth, she hopes they will come back in the future to help out.

This would mean the Binjareb Park alumni picked up the ‘each one, teach one’ philosophy which the association tries to instill in them.  

This was the case of musician John Butler, who when project funding was getting low early last year, put on a benefit concert which raised $27,000.

He told the audience at the time, Binjareb Park was “key to shaping” who he was growing up.

“There is some dark history in that town [Pinjarra] and the Binjareb Park mob are fighting a good fight,” he said.

The association’s plans do not stop at the centre’s renovations however, with plans already in place to turn two shipping containers into a youth and media area and a gymnasium, as well as install an undercover, full-sized basketball court.