Bridgetown Historical Society members, Bridgetown residents past and present and invited guests gathered together for the official reopening of Bridgetown’s Police Museum last week.
Guests were allowed to view the inside of the museum prior to the official opening ceremony, which featured a Welcome to Country performed by Pibulmun-Wadandi elder Sandra Hill.
“Being there was really important and them asking me to do the welcome to country was fantastic,” Ms Hill said.
“It did my heart good to see the truth in there and to have acknowledgement of the Aboriginal people from the area, from the beginning, from the colonisation days and also to be a part of it with my family.”
Her words were followed by a speech from Bridgetown Historical Society chairwoman Mary Elgar, detailing the process of the museum’s refurbishment.
“This is a very memorable milestone and I’m so proud that so many people have responded to the invitations and seen its importance enough for them to come and attend, it’s really important,” Ms Elgar said.
“I think that people can understand by seeing what we’ve done, they can see how much work a volunteer does to create almost a living museum and I’m just generally proud of what we’ve achieved.
The museum was officially opened by Bridgetown police officer-in-charge Phil Nation, who reflected on the past and present of policing in the region, including history made by himself and his daughter Laura, who are the first father and daughter team to serve in the South West.
Sgt Nation praised the work done by the historical museum in renovating the museum.
“I came through here four years ago and the difference from then till now is just enormous, the work that’s been put in by the historical society is just huge,” he said.
“It’s really important, I’m a huge advocate of history and the people who have had the opportunity to serve in a town like this, they should be recognised.”
Ms Elgar said it was important to have both the police and the Aboriginal community represented at the opening.
“It’s been very important all the way along to have the indigenous perspective of early settlement,” she said.
“Having Phil was also very important to me, to be able to close the gap in regards to policing, it was opened by policemen and its been reopened by policemen so that was very important.”
The next stage of the museum’s development is the incorporation of the oral histories possessed by the society into the exhibits, through a system that would allow visitors to hear excerpts at the push of a button.
The society is presently fundraising for the installation of the buttons and is offering the opportunity to sponsor a button for $500.