WA's tourism rising star: travel has “made me appreciate Perth more"

TRA. Emma Went – Operations & Events Manager at The Bell Tower. Pic. Iain Gillespie The West Australian
Photo of Angie Tomlinson

As a kid, Emma Went signed her name on a tile to be placed at the brand-new Bell Tower. Now she's winning awards for her work at the Perth attraction.

As a primary school student, Emma Went signed her name on a tile to be placed at what was then Perth’s newest tourist attraction, the Bell Tower. 

That signature from 1999 — now housed within the Signature Ring as part of Elizabeth Quay — signifies an early connection with the Bell Tower, which recently manifested in Emma, now 26, being awarded the prestigious Sir David Brand Young Achiever Medal at the WA Tourism Awards for her role as the Bell Tower’s operations and events manager.

Among the accolades, Emma was bestowed the honour for a tremendous work ethic and positivity.

The seed for her boundless enthusiasm for promoting tourism in WA was sown as a child, when her family took countless camping holidays down to Albany and Margaret River and up to Kalbarri and the Pilbara, where her parents met.

“I travelled a lot as a child and always loved it,” she says. 

“I thought studying tourism at Murdoch University would give me awesome opportunities to work all over the world but then because I love WA so much and I’m really passionate about promoting the State, I don’t think I could move now.”

Since those early childhood forays, Emma has travelled to America, Europe and Asia, and says overseas travel has “made me appreciate Perth more and realise how lucky we are here”.

Emma began her career at the attraction, climbing from casual administration assistant to taking tours to her current management role. 

She loves that visitors can chime the 12 historic bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which date back to before the 14th century and were recast in the 16th century by Queen Elizabeth I. 

Emma was also instrumental in introducing love locks to the Bell Tower. About 8000 padlocks have now been placed by couples keen to symbolise their relationship. 

She says WA locals most often visit the Bell Tower during free events, including the recent Open House Perth, or with visiting family and friends. 

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