From historic town pub to vibrant community and cultural hub
Aboriginal owned and operated, the Ganalili Centre is located in Roebourne’s old Victoria Hotel building, in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
Ganalili also houses the Roebourne Visitors’ Centre, the local library, retail and office spaces.
It offers various cultural and business services, including conference room hire, plus an exciting array of exhibits, digital projections and educational displays that celebrate the Yindjibarndi language, culture and people. Come and visit us!
A new dawn for Roebourne
Formerly the site of the infamous Victoria Hotel, the Ganalili Centre brings hope, employment and life back to Roebourne.
The Victoria Hotel was built in 1866 and is historically and socially significant to the town of Roebourne.
The hotel was the first licensed premises in Roebourne (and the north west), and it was the last to close.
Initially, the hotel was patronised by local pastoralists and businessmen travelling through the region. Over the years, it expanded to meet increased demand associated with the gold rush and the pearling trade, and later the construction and mining booms.
The Victoria Hotel closed its doors in 2005 after its liquor licence was suspended, largely due to social problems sparked by heavy alcohol consumption in the town.
In 2013, the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation purchased the iconic building, through the Yindjibarndi Capital Trust, with the goal of returning it to its former glory and transforming it into a cultural and commercial hub.
The $6M redevelopment project was made possible with an equal investment of $2 million from the State Government, the Australian Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund, and the Yindjibarndi Capital Trust. 10,000 hours of Aboriginal employment contributed to the project.
Now known as the Ganalili Centre, the doors were officially opened on 7 September 2019 with a community celebration, highlighting its importance to the Yindjibarndi people and the Roebourne community.
First Hotel License in the North West
The Victoria Hotel has been an iconic location of Roebourne since 1893 when the hotel, as it can still be seen today, was constructed replacing a small two-roomed thatched house. The public license granted to Simeon Müller on 1 January 1866 under the name Victoria Hotel was the first to..Read More >>
Charles Zeddi becomes Licensee
The Hotel was licensed to Charles Zeddi
John Spencer becomes proprietor
John Spencer was the proprietor of the Hotel. With Spencer at the helm, the hotel underwent renovations.
Margaret Porter becomes Licensee
Margaret Porter was the licensee
License transferred to Victor Suhard
The license was transferred to .Margaret Porter’s new husband, Victor Suhard
Cyclone Damage, Renovations & Staff Bedrooms
A cyclone caused major damage to the hotel in 1925, however, renovations were not carried out until 1947. A building permit followed on 11 May 1951, to erect timber-framed bedrooms for staff.
Stan Ball becomes Licensee
Stan Ball took over the hotel’s license in 1953,
Max and Jean McKay purchase hotel
Max McKay purchased hotel from Stan and his wife Jean. In 1966, the McKays built the first block of motel units north of Carnarvon, in order to service the hoards of new workers in the region. The verandahs were not enclosed when the McKays bought the hotel.
1967 Referendum grants citizenship to Aboriginal Peoples
The 1967 Referendum that granted automatic citizenship rights to Aboriginal people were commonly referred to as ‘drinking rights’ because Aboriginal people were permitted to drink in pubs. This had devastating consequences for the community, with alcoholism causing the breakdown of families and increasing abuse and violence.
Staffing Increase due to influx of construction and mine workers
By 1971, the Victoria Hotel had increased its staff from 13 (in 1969) to 64, due to the rapid influx of construction and mining workers. It became one of the top five liquor outlets in WA. Buses were organized from the work camps and there would be 500 or 600..Read More >>
Danny Vacca & Libby Bridge become Managers
By 1993 Danny Vacca and Libby Bridge were the managers of the now infamous Victoria Hotel. As part of their efforts to renew the image of the pub, the motel section underwent a name change to Mt Welcome Motel. The new owners attempted to revive the Hotel and attract passing..Read More >>
Campaign to cut alcohol comsuption
In 1994 the Victoria Hotel agreed, along with other liquor outlets, to cut morning trading hours as part of a campaign to cut alcohol consumption. The opening time was moved from 6am to 10am, however, the late 1990s saw the closing of the hotel’s doors for good after more than..Read More >>
Hotel’s doors close.
The hotel’s doors for good after more than 100 years of trading.
Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation Buys Hotel
In 2013, Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) purchased the Victoria Hotel. In partnership with local and state economic development groups, YAC hope to return this iconic building to its former glory and transform it into a cultural and commercial hub.
Victoria Hotel Project to Drive Aboriginal Employment
GBSC Yurra Pty Ltd awarded construction contract to restore Roebourne landmark Aboriginal employment training model developed to maximise local training and employment A Pilbara-based business has been awarded a $4.4 million contract for the redevelopment of the historic Victoria Hotel in Roebourne. In June, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan halted..Read More >>
High School Engagement in Project
Construction based school learning is occurring with the Roebourne High School commencing 29th May. This has involved 3 sessions teaching construction principles including pouring and breaking of concrete beams as well as building bridges.
Photography Sessions with Diane Bartlett
Naesha Stevens (Year 12 student at Roebourne High School) has undertaken three sessions with local photography expert Diane Bartlett to document the Victoria Hotel and pursue Naesha’s career interest in Photo Journalism.
Construction Shadowing Program
3 young men in grade 11 and 12 are undertaking weekly on site construction shadowing with GSBC Yurra. This is providing to be a success and the boys are demonstrating great interest in this program.
December 2018 – Engagement Update
Ganalili Centre Opens
The Ganalili Centre was officially opened on 7 September 2019 with a community involved event and below are images showing the festivities of the day. The opening was covered by the ABC News highlighting the importance that this centre brings to the Yindjibarndi people and the Roebourne community. Other media covered the..Read More >>