Despite its relatively small population, Western Australia has had a remarkable impact on the nation’s sporting and cultural life.
The Museum was established in 1986, when it became obvious to various people, and especially the WA Sports Federation, that some of the State’s outstanding sports memorabilia was being lost to galleries and museums in eastern Australia. The then Labor Government believed a continuation of this trend would be a tragedy, denying generations of West Australians the opportunity to understand and appreciate the significant contribution of our sportspeople to the state and nation’s cultural heritage.
When the Museum opened in 1988 it was funded by a grant of $169 000 provided by the Government via the Ministry for Sport and Recreation. From that point until 1998 funding for MOWAS steadily declined; the Museum, which had been managed by the WA Sports Federation, was then handed to the WA Sports Centre Trust, and since 2002 it has been on ‘care and maintenance’, without a curator.
Before its ‘closure’ MOWAS was one of Australia’s most outstanding small museums, in 1996-7 attracting more than 250,000 people including school groups, and groups from rehabilitation programs and hospitals, as well as members of the public. At different times thematic displays were mounted, for example ‘Aborigines in Sport’,’ Sport: Making Cent$’, plus specific displays for the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. In addition, the permanent displays were very popular.
The Advocacy position of the History Council is a revived Museum of WA Sport should be established in a purpose built facility incorporated into a new stadium or other sporting facility.