The new traffic bridge over the Swan River at Burswood, which forms part of the Graham Farmer Freeway, will be known as Windan Bridge.
Announcing the decision today, Transport Minister Murray Criddle said it honoured the wife of Yallgunga, chief of the Mooro tribe which controlled the northern side of the Swan River around 1833.
The six-lane traffic bridge is part of the new world-class freeway system which allows east-west traffic the convenient and time-saving option of bypassing the busy Perth central business district.
After the new freeway opens on April 22, motorists will have an uninterrupted run from the Hamilton Interchange in West Perth, via the 1.6km tunnel through Northbridge and Windan Bridge to the Belmont Interchange.
“Naming the bridge after Windan recognises the Aboriginal and heritage importance of the new bridge’s location, and formally commemorates the site where Windan was buried,” Mr Criddle said.
“Records indicate that Windan’s wishes to be buried near the old Bunbury Bridge crossing were honoured, although the exact location of her grave is not known. This ceremony is a result of dedicated work by Main Roads, Transfield Thiess Joint Venture and the panel of Nyoongar Elders.
“The Nyoongar Elders have been consulted over the course of the Graham Farmer Freeway project to ensure any areas of Aboriginal heritage are protected, and where possible recognised.”
Mr Criddle said it was fitting that the naming ceremony included a traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony to clear away any evil spirits and to appease the spirit of Windan.
The Minister, Nyoongar Elders and Transfield Thiess unveiled a plaque mounted underneath the bridge that tells the story of Windan and Yallgunga.
“Work to construct the new bridge started in 1998 using the incremental launch technique to progressively build the bridge across the Swan River,” Mr Criddle said.
“The bridge, along with the rest of Graham Farmer Freeway, will be operational after Easter and I encourage people to come along to the opening on Easter Saturday from 8am.
“Rotary will co-ordinate the public open day on Easter Saturday and I encourage people to take part in the historic event by walking through the tunnel and taking the opportunity to view other aspects of the project.”
Media contact: Doug Cunningham on 9321 7333