Traditionally, Noongar maaman (men) hunted kangaroos for food and for clothing in colder months. When we hunted for kangaroos, we fired the land first. With the arrival of Europeans, Noongar also shot kangaroos for the export of their skins. This was one way the Noongar community maintained traditional links to the land, while adapting to the new European economy. However, Europeans also shot large numbers of kangaroos for their skins, often leaving the carcasses where they shot them. In 1848 Captain J. Lort Stokes expressed concern that this was adversely impacting on Noongar traditional ways of life’.[vi] By 1853 the shooting of kangaroos got to such large numbers that legislation was passed to prohibit certain activities unless shooters had a license. (See the Kangaroo Ordinance, 1853)

In 1852 Annesfield School was established in Albany by Ann Camfield and Anglican Archdeacon Wollaston. The institution aimed to remove Noongar children from their families and to ‘civilise and Christianise’ them.[vii] In 1867 Bessy Flower and four other Annesfield girls sailed to Melbourne; Bessy to teach at the Ramahyuck Mission in Gippsland, Victoria, and the others to marry mission trained men.                                                                        

Noongar continued to care for country, hunting and gathering food in the traditional way.

Start of page