Perth’s new public square is on its way

Western Australia’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority has announced the beginning of construction on Yagan Square, a project that will serve as the city’s next major public space.

Concept images and video of the design, completed by Aspect Studios, Lyons and Iredale Pedersen Hook, were released late last year. The team won a competition that was held to decide on the future of the space.

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Three Indigenous Whadjuk Noongar women – Myrtle Yarran, Teresa Walley and Miriam Champion – broke ground on the new project using traditional digging sticks known as wannas.

The project forms part of the Perth City Link Project, which will connect the CBD with Northbridge across the rail corridor that has divided it for more than 100 years.

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“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,” WA Premier Colin Barnett said. He went on to say that thousands of tourists, local residents and workers will likely pass through the square each day once it’s completed.

The site has a strong Indigenous history, and the square is named after the warrior Yagan of the Whadjuk Noongar people, who played a key part in early resistance to British settlement and rule in the area surrounding what is now Perth. A number of elements incorporate Whadjuk Noongar stories, exploring the themes of place, people, animals, birds and landscape.

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A unique water feature by artist Jon Tarry has also been included in the design. Other artists who contributed to the square include Sharon Egan, Paul Carter, Helen Smith, Jeremy Kirwin-Ward and Shaun Gladwell.

The square will have the capacity to accommodate up to 8,500 people, and will feature a fresh food market, native gardens, a children’s play area, an amphitheatre, a cycling centre, public art and a digital tower that can broadcast events.

The project is projected to take around 18 months, and will be finished in 2017.

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