Three Whadjuk Noongar women have today used traditional digging sticks known as ‘wannas’ to turn the soil at Yagan Square, marking the start of major construction at Perth’s next public place.
Premier Colin Barnett said Yagan Square had a strong Aboriginal narrative and it was fitting that Myrtle Yarran, Teresa Walley and Miriam Champion were involved today.
“Prior to the construction of the railway line and Horseshoe Bridge in the early 1900s, this site was a place of significance to Noongar women,” Mr Barnett said.
“This area holds great historical and cultural significance and the name Yagan was chosen to reflect this. In the early 1800s, Yagan played an important role in attempting to bring together Aboriginal leaders and European settlers. He was a formidable warrior and leader greatly admired by his own people.”
The construction program for Yagan Square will take about 18 months with the project creating employment opportunities for more than 220 workers and 80 subcontracting groups.
The Premier said Yagan Square was the key public place within the Perth City Link project, which would make Perth a more connected and accessible city.
“Perth City Link removes the barrier between the CBD and Northbridge for the first time in 100 years,” he said. “Thousands of local residents, tourists and city workers will visit and pass through the square each day. It will be Perth’s next must-see destination that will offer something different for West Australians and visitors to our State.”
Yagan Square will recognise and celebrate WA’s heritage, produce and environment. It will offer a range of new event spaces, a fresh food market, children’s play area, native gardens, water feature, public art and a digital tower with the capability to broadcast real-time events.
Planning Minister John Day said it was a very exciting time for Perth. “With Elizabeth Quay opening two weeks ago, Yagan Square is the next project that will continue Perth’s transformation into a modern and vibrant city,” Mr Day said.
“As the major contractor, Doric will bring their extensive construction experience to deliver an extremely complex build with the challenge of working around the live rail tunnels and within the arms of the heritage-listed Horseshoe Bridge.”