Edward (Ned) Mippy

Ned Mippy. Courtesy of Brendan Moore

Ned Mippy was born on the 1st January 1919 and died on the 5th May 1992. Although not originally from the Moora area, the late Ned Mippy played an enormously valuable role in the Yued community. He was a widely admired and respected Elder, who devoted a large portion of his life to teaching Cultural Education programs in the Moora area, and promoting Noongar identity. Mr Mippy will always be remembered as an outstanding role model and an inspiration to the Noongar community.

Edward (Ned) Mippy, a Noongar Elder, was a role model, motivator and teacher. Ned was born in Mandurah in January 1919 to Arthur Mippy and Clara Harris. Ned Mippy was energetic, determined and inspiring. He influenced the lives of those around him, not only through the many projects and initiatives that he was part of, but because of his values and determination to promote Aboriginal culture, identity and pride.


There were a great number of committees, boards and projects that filled Ned Mippy’s life. He was involved in the Central Midlands Aboriginal Progress Association, and notably, with the Wanderers football club, travelling with the team to carnivals throughout the south-west. His efforts were honoured when he received a certificate of achievement from the Central Midlands Football League in 1989. His commitment to others was recognised in 1990 when he received an Australia Day Award for his dedication to the Aboriginal community.

Early life

Like many Noongar people, Ned Mippy was subjected to removal policies of the time that blighted Noongars more than any other Aboriginal groups in Western Australia. He spent his childhood at Aboriginal missions, the first being Carrolup, near Katanning, after he was forcibly removed from his parents. Later, he was sent to Moore River Native Settlement, where his parents had relocated. Ned was lucky in this sense, as it meant that unlike most of the children who were kept at the Settlement, he was in constant contact with his parents.

Moore River Native Settlement & Survival

As Ned’s father worked at the bakehouse, the Mippy family found themselves in a more privileged position to share their modest wealth. When the children came to help out, Ned made sure they knew the right way to do it. The less they greased the tins, the more likely the bread would stick to them, making the job of cleaning up afterwards more of a meal than a chore.

Cultural Traditions

In Susan Maushart’s book ‘Remembering the Native Settlement’, Ned talks of his father taking him and other children on expeditions to ‘teach them bush skills’.[i] This would be beneficial to Ned in both his early and adult life. Often Ned and the other children went without proper nutrition and took to the surrounding bush for nourishment. Ned spoke of the bush providing more than 20 different varieties of berry, which the children would regularly harvest.[ii] Ned Mippy believed that it was these cultural practices that ensured the children’s survival at the settlement.

Work and Family Life

Ned Mippy married a local girl, Phyllis Narrier, from the Settlement. Work took the Mippys to many parts of the south-west. Ned worked at grape picking, painting and carpentry. At one stage, he even made coffins. In 1950, the Mippys moved back to Moora with their young family and became an integral part of the Yued community. Ned was widely respected for his commitment to West Rail in Moora, where he worked for 28 years. When he retired, his dedication was acknowledged with a certificate of outstanding service.

Cultural Education Program

In 1984, Ned Mippy and his close friend, Father Rooney, created an Aboriginal Cultural Studies program. It consisted of traditional Noongar language, bush survival skills, Noongar stories and heritage. Ned taught for two years at St. Joseph’s Primary School in Moora, and in 1989, restarted their program at the Central Midlands Senior High School and at the local TAFE.

In his Cultural Studies program, Ned Mippy addressed the issue of maintaining the cultural identity and pride of young Noongar people. He also gave non-Aboriginal students the opportunity to embrace Noongar culture. This helped to close the cultural divide and disprove the myth that Noongar people do not have a strong sense of culture.

Despite resistance from certain areas in both the white and Noongar communities, Ned Mippy persevered and continued to develop and expand his program. One of his exciting projects was working with year 6 and 7 students in woodwork, where the young people learned to make boomerangs, spears and shields.

The Yued Artefacts Program

Ned Mippy was always concerned about the lack of employment opportunities for Noongar people in the town of Moora. Inspired by a visit in 1985 to Marribank (formerly Carrolup Mission) and discovering their Arts and Crafts centre, Ned decided to start a similar program in Moora, where Noongar women could come and learn the art of spinning and weaving.

The program continued for a number of years and was superseded by the ‘Yued Artefacts project’, which, under the guidance of Ned, produced wooden artefacts. This was developed into an official training program, with the idea to export to overseas markets, which were eager for genuine Aboriginal artefacts.

Edward  Mippy’s Death

Ned Mippy died on the 5th May, 1992. His passing was not only devastating to his family, but to those involved in his many projects and organizations.

At the Yued Artefacts workshop there is a plaque dedicated to the late Mr. Mippy. Bernard Rooney states: Without Ned Mippy’s “vision, inspiration and unflagging energy, the project would never have come to fruition”.[iii] The Central Midlands Senior High School created a scholarship as their tribute to the late Ned Mippy, recognising his dedication to education as a form of identity and empowerment.

During the long course of his life, Ned Mippy forgot neither his identity nor his background’. [iv] He worked tirelessly for his community and filled the lives of others in the same way that his was filled by his commitments. Ned Mippy will always be fondly remembered as an outstanding role model and an inspiration to the Noongar community.


[i] Maushart, Susan. Sort of a Place Like Home: Remembering the Moore River Settlement, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1993, p.120

[ii] Ibid, p.169

[iii] Rooney, Bernard. The Legacy of the Late Edward Mippy: An Ethnographic Biography. Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin University, 2002, p.215

[iv] Ibid, p.202

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