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Arts, Culture & Heritage

Northam’s key attraction is Bilya Koort Boodja: Centre for Nyoongar Culture and Environmental Knowledge. The Centre protects, celebrates, and shares the culture of the Nyoongar people and highlights land management practices that draw upon the knowledge of the land’s traditional custodians. Click here to find out more about the centre building.

This state-of-the-art facility also offers an interactive educational experience that recognises the rich Aboriginal and environmental presence in the Nyoongar Ballardong region. The interpretive space details the six Aboriginal seasons and the history of Ballardong people in the Northam Region.

Bilya Koort Boodja is also a great place to purchase authentic aboriginal artwork by local Nyoongar artists, or locally produced gifts and souvenirs, food products, and artefacts. Through out the year the Centre also offers a cultural and environmental tours, local workshops, cultural events and rooms to hire.

  

Discover our heritage from one of our museums or 

Museums

  • BKB
  • Morby 
  • Northam Heritage Centre

Art Trails

  • Public Art & Town Sculptures
  • Public Silo Art
  • Shire of Northam art Collection

Heritage buildings and tours 

The Shire of Northam recognises that arts and culture are valued components within the community. There is potential for growth within the area of arts and culture that will result in enriching the lives of residents as well as attracting visitors.

The Shire of Northam is working to raise awareness and appreciation of our cultural heritage, history and contemporary arts practice.

Northam is home to over 180 heritage buildings- that’s the second-highest number of anywhere in the state. Soak up Northam’s rich heritage in one of our many heritage-themed experiences.

Tours

At present, the Northam Visitor Centre operates a number of tours around the historic town of Northam.  

Historical Buildings Bus Tour

$15 per person/ $12 each for groups of 15 or more. If you are bringing your own bus and driver, a flat fee of $100 per tour will apply.

Prepare to be taken back in time on our most popular tour around Northam. During the tour, you will see many of the iconic buildings of Northam’s history, and will learn about the important people who lived and worked there. 

Self-Guided Tours

We offer a number of self-guided tour options, including two different historical drives (or walks). Ask Visitor Centre Staff for more details.

Heritage Tours

(IN DEVELOPMENT, MORE INFO TO BE ADDED SOON)

Contact Northam Visitor Centre

PUBLIC Silo Trail

The PUBLIC Silo Trail, completed in September 2018 by cultural organisation FORM in partnership with the State’s largest grain handler CBH Group, has become one of Western Australia’s iconic drive trails linking together strong cultural narratives, storytelling and world class art, along one self-drive route.

 The Northam Silo murals were completed in 2015 by international artists Phlegm and HENSE. Over two weeks they painted the huge silos, all while the CBH went about usual operations. 

 Visit the PUBLIC Silo Trail website for further information on the massive works of art and to plan your Silo Trail adventure across WA.

 

Shire of Northam Art Collection

The Shire of Northam’s art collection originated in the late 1950’s, following a bequest of works from philanthropist Sir Claude Hotchin. It has since grown to consist of more than 140 pieces by both local and well-known artists, including pieces by Will Ashton and Arthur Boyd, among others. The pieces represent a wide range of styles and mediums, and are currently overseen by the Shire of Northam’s Art Advisory Committee, and Shire Council.

 The Art Advisory Committee was formed with the intent of managing the growing collection, in terms of both the maintenance of the pieces, and the eventual display to the public. To date, one art display has been held, which showcased a number of pieces selected by the Committee in the Northam Lesser Town Hall. Following a positive reception of this display, it is the intent of the Committee to hold further events, and to explore new methods of displaying the pieces to the public around town. 

Following the initial bequest of the Hotchin collection, pieces have been either donated to the collection, or purchased by the Shire of Northam as the winning piece of the annual Northam Art Prize acquisitive art awards. In 2018 the tradition of the acquisitive art award came to an end so the Shire of Northam will no longer be adding the winning art piece to the Collection.

 

Public Art in the Shire of Northam

The importance of public art is highly regarded within the Shire of Northam. Public art not only beautifies and brightens the streetscape of our towns, it also serves to boost community morale and enhances the social, cultural and economic value of the Shire. There are several examples of public art, including murals, sculptures and monuments throughout the Shire of Northam, and planning is underway to further develop the public art within the Shire.

   

Northam Historical Town Sculptures

While meandering down the main street of Northam (Fitzgerald Street) you will notice 12 sculptures placed outside historically significant places. This Northam Historical Town Sculptures project was a collaboration between the Avon Valley Arts Society and the Northam Historical Society to lift the veil on some of the interesting stories of Northam's past and illustrate the history of Northam through sculpture.

 

Bernard Park

The Sound Sculpture Project was completed in 1991 by Nick Compton, Simon Gilby, Ian Hill and Northam Districts High School Students using scrap metal.

More recently the sewerage access chambers were given a bright facelift from Artist Revolution and Tom deMunk-Kirkmeer with support from the Water Corporation.

 

Murals

There are a variety of murals throughout the Shire. Of particular significance are the Silo murals which form part of the PUBLIC Silo Trail. The Shire is in the process of planning for new commissions of mural art as part of the Northam Town Centre Development and Connectivity Strategy, brightscaping strategy.

Contact the Northam Visitor Centre for the public art trail (COMING SOON)

 

Avon Valley Arts Society

The Avon Valley Arts society are based at the Old Girls School on Wellington Street, and have gallery and exhibition space at the Northam Visitor Centre. They hold regular events and workshops, and offer items for sale from their talented members.

 

Northam Heritage Centre

425 Fitzgerald Street Northam

08 9621 1739

Nhforum11@gmail.com

Website

Please contact the Northam Visitor Centre ahead of time to ensure that the museum is open.

Take a trip back in time at Northam’s original train station. With numerous displays and exhibitions, monthly markets, and train carriages to explore the Northam Heritage Centre is not to be missed.

Morby Cottage

70 Katrine Road, Northam

08 9622 3881

Open Sundays 11am-3pm

Admission Cost- $5 Adult, $3 Concession & $2 Children (CASH ONLY)

Morby Cottage is one of Western Australia's oldest surviving colonial residences. The cottage was built in 1836 by John Morrell, the first European to settle in Northam in 1832.

Morrell built the farmhouse using locally sourced materials, but the doors and window frames and panes travelled with him by ship, on his long and arduous journey from England. The cottage was crucial to the early colonial life in Northam, serving as the town's first church, school, courthouse, and retail and postal outlet.

Morby Cottage is open to the public on Sundays 11am - 3pm or by special appointment. Contact the caretaker, Yvonne on 9622 3881 for information or special bookings.