Rottnest Island has a new attraction for families. In addition to the original Wadjemup Museum, now there is the Wadjemup Museum for Children, and the good news is it’s free to visit! 

Located just north of the main settlement, the Wadjemup Museum for Children is inside a small stone cottage on Heritage Green. This volunteer run Museum features stories and information of the Island’s history as a popular family holiday spot.

For children to enter the Museum, they can walk around the displays or crawl in through a tunnel at the bottom. Beside the tunnel, there is a notepad and pencils on the wall for a treasure hunt. Tear off a sheet and follow the clues to find all the answers around the exhibits. This is great for primary age kids with curious minds. 

There is information at the Museum about the history of the cottage, known as both Lomas Cottage, and by it’s nickname, Buckingham Palace. The cottage was initially home to an ex-convict, John Lomas, who farmed this plot of land. When he left, a warden by the name of Buckingham took over. Hence the name Buckingham Palace. Later on, when phone lines became available, the cottage became the telephone exchange for the Island. 

With the history of the cottage in mind, this explains a number of the interactive exhibits. For example, there is a rotary telephone, like the ones the kids like me grew up with, which plays a selection of stories from past Island visitors and residents. It was interesting to see my child try to use one of these phones. It was a bit of a learning curve! 

Adjacent to the telephone there is a view master type slide show. These also feature families from yesteryear. 

The very rear of the cottage has a soft bend seat to relax on. This has a built in space for children’s books, many of which tie into the Rottnest Island theme, such as cute quokkas. It’s a lovely space to chill out and share a story with your little one, whether you do the reading or they do. 

The exhibits in the central part of the room includes facts about Rottnest Island’s resident quokka population, games kids used to play while here, information about the old Rottnest School and more.

On the entry side, we found panels you can slide up to read more facts or see photos. Miss 9 also found a pull out drawer case with more memories and artifacts. 

If your child is a sensitive soul, you may wish to skip the Museum. There is a stuffed quokka in a case in the central display along with other artifacts. My child was okay, but I’m aware some kids might find this a bit distressing after seeing others being cute and cuddly outside.  You know your little one best and can make this call. 

In addition to the exhibits inside, Lomas’s garden has been maintained at the rear of the cottage. There is a selection of fruit trees, such as apple trees and mulberry trees, along with some native plants. We found this to be a tranquil space for a little walk.  A small bridge is also available at the rear of the yard to access this area. 

During our visit to the Wadjemup Museum for Children, we had a lovely chat with the Volunteer Guide who was manning the cottage for the day. He was a friendly older chap who explained the history of the cottage and shared some facts about Rottnest Island. It’s worth chatting with the Guides if you have an opportunity. They are full of interesting facts and information, and they are happy to help with any questions.  

In conclusion, while the Wadjemup Museum for Children is small, it has lots for young children to enjoy. The exhibits are interactive and easily accessible and fun. Pre-school and early primary age children would probably get the most out of a visit here. We hung out here for almost an hour as Miss 9 explored everything and read through all the books. For a free attraction, it is well worth the visit. 


Wadjemup Museum for Children

Located on Heritage Common, Rottnest Island.

Wadjemup Museum for Children is open between 10.45am and 3.30pm, with an hour break at 12pm, seven days a week, depending on Volunteer Guide availability. 

If you find yourself in need of refreshments before, after or during your visit to the Museum, why not stop in for a snack at Rottnest Bakery? Alternatively, you could drop into Frankie’s for lunch or dinner. Both are family friendly and offer a good range of options. 

About Holly Clark

Holly Clark is currently a stay at home mum of one, a self-confessed coffee addict and a baker of sweet treats. She studied Professional Writing and Editing, and occasionally writes on her recipe blog, Lucky Star's Kitchen

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