Blazing a digital trail at Cockman House
Published Wednesday, 19th May 2021
Experience one of the memorable heritage sites in the City of Wanneroo, Cockman House, through a new interactive digital trail.
Follow the story of James Cockman and his dream of building a family home that would last generations, using Nature Play WA’s Play Trails app.
The new Cockman House trail includes hands-on activities, audio tales, images, videos, quizzes and games to play as you complete your journey to earn a commemorative magnet, collected from the Wanneroo Regional Museum.
The Play Trails app takes traditional scavenger hunts to the next level, allowing players using the app at trail locations to follow along with audio tracks, unlock challenges, solve quiz questions, score points and learn about the site.
City of Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said the interactive nature of the app allows people to immerse themselves in Wanneroo’s rich history in a fun and engaging way.
“This innovative app will allow locals and visitors to the City to walk the trail, listen to audio and undertake activities and challenges to imagine what James’ life was like,” Mayor Roberts said.
“The interactive trail really engages people of all ages and abilities so it makes learning about one of the City’s prominent families and historical houses a fun experience.
“Local heritage is an important part of our community. It promotes a sense of belonging and provides insight into previous generations and history, connecting Wanneroo’s past with our future.”
This trail uncovers stories of James Cockman, who built Wanneroo’s oldest standing house in 1860, and documents his remarkable journey of determination and resourcefulness in the early Swan River colony.
Generations of the Cockman and Backshall families lived at the house until 1987, when the house was acquired by the City and transformed into a museum.
To create the interactive trail, Perth based arts collective, Genrefonix, used sound engineering and live theatre to create lifelike audio tales which were uploaded to the app, and the Wanneroo’s Men’s Shed built small replicas of the house for play-based activities.
Manager Cultural Development Lesley Wilkinson said she encourages everyone to come along and try the trail for themselves.
“The app provides diverse challenges as you proceed along the trail. There’s a chance to make James’ first home – a tent – and to dress up in James’ clothes, to search for clues about how James built the house, to listen to audio tracks and do activities,” she said.
“Come along, bring a picnic and take in everything this fascinating site has to offer.”
The Cockman House trail is the second available trail on the app for the City. It joins the existing Shipwreck Drive Trail, which explores four of the infamous shipwrecks along the Wanneroo coastline.
Cockman House is open every Sunday afternoon from 1-4pm until the end of May. Entry is free (gold coin donation).
To try the trail for yourself, download the Play Trails app from your device’s App or Play Store.
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