Noongar Published Resources

The following list of Noongar Published Resources is certainly not a comprehensive list. However, we have attempted to give you an opportunity to access further reading about our Noongar culture and history from a Noongar perspective.  Following this we have included links to Noongar websites which are excellent resources for your use.

LIVING CULTURE LIVING LAND.  This booklet was developed by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.  The book outlines a guide to Noongar Protocols and a Welcome to Country.

CONNECTION TO COUNTRY.  Noongar people’s country covers the entire south-western portion of Western Australia. Archaeological evidence establishes that the Noongar people – alternative spellings: Nyungar/Nyoongar/Nyoongah/Nyungah/Nyugah and Yunga – have lived in the area and had possession of tracts of land on their country for at least 45,000 years.


Professor Kim Scott

Writer: Professor Kim Scott is one of Australia’s greatest writers. A member of the Noongar community, Kim’s novels, poetry and short stories have positioned Noongar culture before the wider Australian and international communities. In 1999, he won Australia’s most prestigious literary award, the Miles Franklin, for his novel Benang: From the Heart – the first Indigenous writer to take out the award. He again won the Miles Franklin in 2011 for That Deadman Dance. In 2012 Kim was awarded his PhD with distinction from the University of Western Australia.  He was also presented with the Indigenous award. Kim is deeply involved in language recovery projects helping to return oral histories and archival language material to their home communities. In particular, he is involved with the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories initiative, revitalising traditional stories from the community. As a Professor of Writing at Curtin University, Kim willingly shares his skills, experience and gift for writing with students, staff and outlying communities. Kim also mentors Indigenous students at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University.

THAT DEADMAN DANCE. Kim Scott’s winning third novel, That Deadman Dance, is about the harmonious relations between his Noongar people of south-western Australia and the early settlers.

Dr Rosemary van den Berg

Dr Rosemary van den Berg is a Nyoongar Elder of the south-west people in Western Australia. RRosemary wasborn at Moore River Native Settlement. Her parents moved to Pinjarra when she was five years old, where they bought a five-acre block of land. Van den Berg grew up with five sisters and four brothers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (English) and a PhD from Curtin University 2002. Dr Van den Berg has worked for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in Perth, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and the Australian Public Service in the area of Aboriginal Affairs. She has also been a writer and an editor, as well as a historian, a grandmother and an Aboriginal Elder. Van den Berg is the fourth daughter of Thomas Corbett (q.v.) who was the subject of her book, No Options, No Choice! : The Moore River Experience: My Father, Thomas Corbett, an Aboriginal Half-Caste (1994). She has worked at Murdoch University, teaching essay writing and English to Aboriginal KATEC (Bridging Course) students.

ABORIGINAL STORYTELLING AND WRITING. Indigenous writers have opened up a whole new concept in Australian writing. Readers are getting a different perspective on Aboriginal life because stories are coming from an Aboriginal point of view, recorded and written by Aborigines from their own experiences of being Aboriginal. And they are having more say in what is being written about them. Aboriginal people are rewriting Australia’s history through their literary input. They are writing autobiographies and biographies, poetry, fiction, drama, the short story, academic papers and children‘s stories. As with Aboriginal theatre, dance and music, it is only within the last two or three decades that Aboriginal literature has really been accepted in this country.

Professor Leonard Collard

Professor Len Collard is a Whadjuk/ Balardong Nyungar and traditional owner of the Perth region. He has a background in literature and communications and his research interests are in the area of Aboriginal studies, including Noongar interpretive histories and Noongar theoretical and practical research models. Professor Collard has conducted research for the Australian Research Council, the National Trust of Western Australia, the Western Australian Catholic Schools and the Swan River Trust. His research has broadened the understanding of the many unique characteristics of Aboriginal people and improved the appreciation of Aboriginal culture and heritage of the south-west of Australia. Len’s ground-breaking theoretical work has put Noongar cultural research on the national stage.

Assistant Professor Clint Bracknell

Assistant Professor Clint Bracknell lectures at The School of Indigenous Studies, The University of Western Australia, and is compiling research on the musical and linguistic heritage of Noongar people. His ancestral Noongar country is along the south-east coast of Western Australia. The Norman Tindale nomenclature refers to this area as Wudjari/Koreng and his cultural Elders use the term Wirlomin to refer to their clan. Clint is heavily involved in the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project, a Noongar language regeneration project in the south of Western Australia.

BEELIAR BOODJAR: AN INTRODUCTION TO ABORIGINAL HISTORY IN THE CITY OF COCKBURN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA. This report is based upon an interpretive Aboriginal history of a metropolitan region in Western Australia known today as the City of Cockburn. The researchers first conducted a review of existing literature and oral histories, then consulted with local Elders and members of the Aboriginal community to analyse the material and construct a historical narrative around the interrelated Noongar theoretical principles of boodjar (land), moort (kin) and katitj (knowledge). This interpretive history draws heavily on previously conducted oral history projects to bring Aboriginal voices together with historical texts and a variety of language resources to reflect the continuous connection Noongar people of Western Australia’s south-west have with their Country.  This report is intended as an introduction to the deep and continuing history of Noongar people and culture in the area known today as the City of Cockburn. The authors wish to acknowledge the many Aboriginal families who have long association with the Cockburn area and will have more stories to tell in the future.

NYUNGAR WARDAN KATITJIN BIDI-DERBAL NARA. This project was funded by Coastwest to Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, with support from the City of Cockburn as the coastal manager. The aims of the project are:

UNDERSTANDING PLACE NAMES IN SOUTHWEST AUSTRALIA – KATITJIN NGULLUCKINY BOODERA.  Place names are most commonly used but the history behind how they were created as geographical nomenclature for cities is not always well understood. Most Australian geographic features have been named in one or more of the 260 Indigenous languages spoken on the continent and the relationship between Aboriginal people and the land is as strong today as it was 400 centuries ago (ICSM, 2010). However with the European settlement an English based naming system has developed, creating place names from British or other European sources or from Indigenous words” (ICSM, 2010, p. 3). The Southwest of Australia is unique as it has the largest share of preserved Indigenous names and more than 50% of the currently used place names are of Aboriginal, namely Nyungar origin Goodchild, 2011). Furthermore, in 2007 the Western Australian State Government adopted a dual naming policy for places which recognises the importance of Aboriginal heritage and encourages its preservation (Landgate, 2007). There is however a void in the identifying, recording, writing and understanding of the Australian Indigenous history as it relates to the Nyungar meaning of place names. Len Collard and Dora Marinova Curtin University, Perth, Australia, Brian Goodchild, Landgate, Perth, Australia


A conversation about working with Indigenous young people in the past, present and future. There are enormous difficulties associated with communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, but dialogue is considered important for reconciliation, co-existence and a mediated future for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. To demonstrate the importance of conversational exchange, this paper is presented in the form of dialogue with the theme of the possibility of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working together to support the interests of Indigenous young people.  Len Collard and Dave Palmer.



This study was carried out in Whadjuck Nyungar boodjar on behalf of Murdoch University that is located in our part of the country. Calls from Indigenous Australians for a history reflecting their experiences and concerns are mirrored globally in countries such as New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and Canada. In his text, Te Mana, Te Kawanatanga: The politics of Maori self-determination, M. H. Durie (1989) wrote of the Maori reclaiming their histories through their writing. In Australia, Indigenous accounts of history are pertinent to issues of responsibility and obligations of cultural integrity, especially for those of us with ties to this land that pre-date the arrival of Europeans. Additionally, non-Aboriginal people benefit from learning more about contributions made by Indigenous Australians to the development of the Nation, not least because of the role that knowledge plays in facilitating improved relations with Indigenous people.

To read the Project Report – click on Info page and download the document call Nyungar. This project was directed by Leonard Collard, a Whadjuck/Balardong Nyungar. The other team members are Sandra Harben, a Whadjuck/Balardong Nyungar, and Dr Rosemary van den Berg, a Pindjarup Nyungar.

NYUNGAR TOURISM IN THE SOUTH WEST REGION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA: A CASE STUDY ANALYSIS. Whether you area visitor from another part of the state, interstate or from another country, visiting a Nyungar tourism venture and learning about Nyungar heritage and culture is indeed a unique experience. There are a number of Nyungar tourism operators that allow visitors to experience Nyungar culture and listen to Cultural Tour Guides and Cultural Custodians pass on our histories and stories. From the following case studies you will see how these Nyungar tourism operators provide an authentic unique experience through their cultural interpretive tours, bush walks, educational tours and tool making activities. These Indigenous Tourism Operators will also show you westernised products such as CD’s, tapes, bookmarks, books, glassware, pottery and t-shirts that have logo’s or motif designs reflecting a Nyungar influence. If the visitor is interested in experiencing adventure tours in a four wheel drive these are available through some of the Nyungar Tourism Operators. However, if whale watching or dolphin watching and visiting our magnificent pristine beaches are more to your taste then you can experience this with either Kepa Kurl, the Wardan Cultural Centre or Kwillana Dreaming. Nyungar tourism operators impart Nyungar knowledges that respect and reinforce Nyungar cultural heritage. They are committed to protecting Nyungar cultural authenticity and integrity through developing sound business practices so they can offer the tourist that unique Nyungar experience in Nyungar boodjar or the southwest lands of Western Australia. This project was directed by Leonard Collard, a Whadjuck/Balardong Nyungar. Sandra Harben, a Whadjuck/Balardong Nyungar conducted the research and writing of the ten Case Studies.

NYUNGAR TOURISM IN THE SOUTH WEST REGION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA: A QUOPARDAR or BEST PRACTICE APPROACH FOR NYUNGAR TOURISM OPERATORS. The Quopardar or best Practice guide is funded by an Australian Research Council as part of the research project “Nyungar Tourism In The South West Region Of Western Australia: A Case Study Analysis From A Nyungar Perspective”. Thisresearch project enabled the team to bring together ten Nyungar Tourism Operators conducting businesses in Nyungar boodjar or country and to Develop a Quopardar or Best Practice Guide for Nyungar Tourism Operators conducting businesses in Nyungar boodjar or country and to Develop a Website.This project was directed by Leonard Collard, a Whadjuck/Balardong Nyungar. Sandra Harben, a Whadjuck/Balardong Nyungar.

Sandra Harben

Sandra is a Whadjuk Ballardong Nyungar woman from the southwest of Western Australia. She has an interest in Australian Indigenous History with a focus on Nyungar culture. She has conducted extensive research and produced reports, journal articles and chapters in books about Nyungar culture. Some of her projects have included making films in which she is acknowledged as the co-producer or scriptwriter and assisted in the development of the “Nidja Beeliar Boodjar” Murdoch University Website. Her other work includes a literature review “Recording Traditional Knowledge” for the Avon Catchment Council, Noongar of the Beeliar (Video), Nyungar Tourism in the Southwest of Western Australia: A Case Study Analysis and developed the curriculum for the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre at Murdoch University “Introduction to Nyungar Cultural Studies” Sandra has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia with double major in Industrial Relations and Geography and minors in History and Anthropology. She was also awarded the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Overseas Study Award in 1996. She undertook research work at the University of Illinois, USA and then continued her travels to South America, Europe and Asia as part of her cross cultural learning.

“YOUR MOST GRATEFUL SERVANT JANIE SHAW”. This paper provides a brief historical account of the working life of an Aboriginal (Noongar) woman by the name of Janie Shaw (later Janie Collard) in the 1930’s.  Janie Shaw’s story gives readers an insight into her working which parallels that of other Aboriginal women during this period. Janie’s story also reveals how Aboriginal people were subjected to the harsh and oppressive policies of the 1905 WA Aborigines Act. Letters written by Janie Shaw (my grandmother) to the Chief Protector of Aborigines Mr Neville and other documents form the basis of this story.

STORIES FROM THE PAST TO THE PRESENT. Kura, Yeye, Mila and Boorda Noongar people (Katitjin Wangininy Noongar people Knowledge Stories from the Past to the Present And For Tomorrow and the Future)

WAAKAL. Some of Pop’s other Nyungar stories revolved around the Nyungar Rainbow Serpent, the Waakal. The Warkal [sic] is the giver of life, he made the rivers, swamps, lakes and waterholes, he maintains the fresh water sources.”

RECORDING TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE. A partial list of key culturally significant sites related to the natural resources of the area (Balardong country) was compiled through a comprehensive literature review, search of the Registry of sites (DIA) and through interviews with key Noongar participants. Eleven key Noongar participants were interviewed to collect oral histories for the research report and for the documentary film. The project was framed by four primary themes: fire, water, land and biodiversity. Specifically this project focused on cultural values expressed through the recording of traditional knowledge; historical associations and knowledge of sites of significance; spiritual and cultural values; and rights and responsibilities were explored. The cultural knowledge shared by the participants assisted the research team to build a Noongar perspective of those sites. Of the sites studied, three were selected to be linked to projects listed to the Avon Investment. They are Badjaling (Shire of Quairading), Kokerbin Rock (Shire of Bruce Rock) and Burlong Pool (Shire of Northam). The research was undertaken by an experienced team of Noongar researchers from within the Australian Indigenous Studies Program, Kulbardi Centre,   Sandra Harben, Lecturer and Senior Researcher, Reseach Assistants – Braden Hill, Ingrid Collard, Lesley Nelson and Doreen Nelson), the Centre for Social and Community Research at Murdoch University and Moodjar Consultancy (Leonard Collard, Cultural Consultant and Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies). The team worked closely with Noongar individuals, families and communities in the Avon River Basin.

Prepared by Ballardong NRM Working Group, A Standing Committee of the Avon Catchment Council

BALLARDONG NOONGAR BUDJAR ‘HEALTHY COUNTRY –  HEALTHY PEOPLE’.  This document represents particular importance for the local Aboriginal people of the Avon River Basin – the Ballardong Noongar. Our people have lived in harmony with the natural environment of the Avon region for thousands of years – or as our ancestors have described – since time began. This document therefore, aims to represent this close affinity Ballardong Noongars have had with their Country since the time of the Dreaming. This spiritual attachment to Country now incorporates a religious perspective for many Noongar people, who believe God is represented in the Dreaming as the Great Spirit who was the ‘Giver of the Land’. Ballardong Noongar were the recipients of this gift and were therefore, given great responsibility to care for the Land. Through colonisation and the consequences of our historical past, Noongar people have lost their God given right to take care of their Country. In this document we are now saying that the time is right for Ballardong Noongar people to be re-engaged – for our black hands to be put back in our Country.

NYUNGAR BUDJARA WANGANY – Our Country Talking. The natural status quo of life and living for the Nyungar has increasingly continued to cease over the past 100 years. It is now time to re-introduce the “Carers of Everything” back into the global responsibilities of Caring for Our Country. This project as with other national heritage activities is an acknowledgement that much still remains to be understood about the development of propagation techniques for natural flora and fauna species survival and their re-establishment. It is recognised that the most effective way of conserving our natural wild life and plants in their natural surrounds is through education, communication and publicity. Preservation involves survival of species through propagation and cultivation and this requires investment, time and energy. The Avon Catchment Council together with the Nyungar people as partners in this project, represent that investment for the future of children and future generations. Knowledge of their origins through Nyungar stories, song lines and beliefs of the flora and fauna as well as the significant places and sites, will enhance their value inside the Avon Catchment community. This project was carried out by Ballardong Noongar, Oral McGuire.

Associate Professor Glen Stasuik

Glen Stasiuk is a maternal descendent of the Minang-Wadjari Nyungars (Aboriginal peoples) of the South-West of Western Australia and his paternal family are immigrants from post-war Russia. Glen Stasiuk (nee Keen/Farmer/Hayward): Associate Professor at Murdoch University and WASA Award winning director of the documentary The Forgotten, Glen is a maternal descendent of the Minang-Wadjari Nyungars (Aboriginal peoples) of the South-West of Western Australia whilst his paternal family immigrated from post-war Russia. These rich and varied cultural backgrounds have allowed him, through his filmmaking, research and writing to explore culture, knowledge and diverse narratives. This was evident via his film: The Forgotten, voted Best Documentary at the 2003 WA Screen Awards, which documented and examined the Aboriginal community’s contribution to the Australian Armed Forces in the 20th Century. Glen holds a Business Degree from Edith Cowan University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Murdoch University. In 2002 he was awarded a First Class Honours Degree in Media Studies and delivered the Valedictory Address at that year’s graduation ceremony. Recently this year Glen honourably received the Minoru Hokari Scholarship from the Australian National University (ANU) to research the conciliation and conflict between settlers and Nyungars in the Swan River colony (1829-1834). He has lectured in Media Studies, Nyungar Studies and Cultural Issues at Murdoch University and is currently completing an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant and his PhD which revolves around his latest film in production: Wadjemup: Black Prison – White Playground. Other film productions include: Noongar of the Beeliar (Swan River), The Ngallak Koort Boodja Project, Weewar – A Bindjareb Warrior, Footprints in the Sand and Gnulla Katitjin Quoppadar Boojar.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND: THE LAST OF THE NOMADS. Footprints in the Sand tells of the extraordinary search for Warri and Yatungka, believed to be the last of the Gibson Desert people who ‘came in’ out of the desert for the first time in the late 1970s. This is both a sad love story and an uplifting tale of survival and rescue.

THE FORGOTTEN. The Forgotten examines the prejudice faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait soldiers in the armed forces and the honour they felt representing their nation. It is also a work that explains what prompted Indigenous people to risk their lives fighting to defend Australia even though they had every reason not to, given the backdrop of racism and intolerance they and their family members were forced to endure at home.

South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, John Host with Chris Owen

‘IT’S STILL IN MY HEART THIS IS MY COUNTRY’ – THE SINGLE NOONGAR CLAIM HISTORY. ‘White fella got it but it’s still in my heart, this is my country’ is what Noongar elder Angus Wallam said during the ‘on country’ hearings into the Single Noongar Native Title Claim in October 2005. In giving evidence to the Federal Court of Australia at Lake Towerinning near Wagin in the south-west of Western Australia, Mr Wallam spoke about how his people in this region were gradually pushed off their land by land clearing and development of farms. Noongar people were moved on to makeshift camps on ‘native reserves’ on the outskirts of town.

THE SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING OF ABORIGINAL CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE. This booklet summarises information from the second volume of the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey: The Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Children and Young People. The purpose of this profile is to provide data and information specific to the ATSIC region of Narrogin. To protect the confidentiality of individuals and families, the information provided in this profile can only be given at the Narrogin ATSIC regional level. Unless otherwise stated, data in this publication refer to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children in the Narrogin ATSIC region.

NOONGAR NATION. By Manuhuia Barcham: In the wake of the positive determination made in the case of the Perth metropolitan area in the Single Noongar (native title) Claim in late 2006, the idea of a Noongar Nation is gaining currency around Australia.

NOONGAR DICTIONARY by Rose Whitehurst.

INTRODUCTION TO NOONGAR HISTORY AND CULTURE. Produced by Southwest Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.

An excellent resource outlining WA Timeline.

Aboriginal people are cautioned that panels contain images of Noongar people who have passed away.

Pre history scientific dating confirms that the Australian continent has been occupied by Aboriginal people for at least 50,000 years. In the south west of Western Australia tools that are 35,000 years old, and Noongar remains that are between 12,000 and 20,000 years old, have been unearthed from an archaeological deposit in a limestone cave at Devil’s Lair near Augusta. A more recent study says this date is more likely to go back some 50,000 years. The Noongar people lived in balance with the natural environment. Their social structure was focused on the family with Noongar family groups occupying distinct areas of Noongar Country. It is variously estimated that the Noongar population, prior to the arrival of Europeans, was between 6,000 and tens of thousands. Noongar people lived by hunting and trapping a variety of game including kangaroos, possums and wallabies. They fished using spears and fish traps, as well as gathering an extensive range of native plants and wildlife such as Grass Trees (Balga) sap for medicinal purposes. Noongar people utilised quartz instead of flint for spear and knife edges, and developed the art of working quartz crystals. They wore the cloak of the kangaroo for warmth, especially in the colder areas of the south west. For the Noongar People in the Perth area the main source of food came from the sea, the Swan River and the extensive system of freshwater lakes and wetlands that once lay between the coast and the Darling Escarpment. Further south and east the Noongar people lived off the resources of the Karri and Jarrah forests. In the southern coastal area around Albany the Noongar people built fish traps and hunted turtle. To the north and east Noongar people lived in the semi arid regions of what is now the wheat belt.

INDIGENOUS HISTORY OF THE SWAN AND CANNING RIVERS. A project with the Swan River Trust and Debtra Hughes-Hallett

Significant cultural sites including some sites of historical and Nyoongar significance are mapped. Sites of significance are defined as those areas which demonstrate some or all of the following characteristics: an important emotional link for society, rareness, intactness, excellence of type, cultural or historical importance, association with a particular cultural, historical or social period, association with a significant historical personality, or natural features which are ecologically or intrinsically important.


According to archaeological evidence, Nyungar people were occupying the area around Yellagonga Regional Park for at least 40,000 years prior to European colonisation (Hallam 1989:145-147). The country surrounding the Yellagonga Regional Park area was called ‘Mooro’ and was frequented by several large family groups up until the early-1900s. The Regional Park itself is named after an important Nyungar elder of the early colonial period, Yellagonga. Early colonist Robert Menli Lyon, believed that “Mooro, the district of

Yellowgonga…is bounded by the sea on the west; by Melville water and the Swan, on the south; by Ellen’s brook, on the east; and, by the Gyngoorda, on the north.” (Lyon 1833:176). Prior to large-scale European settlement, it is likely that the vicinity which is now the Perth Central Business District was the focal area of Mooro Country, with Yellagonga Regional Park playing an integral role (Hallam & Tillbrook 1990:349).

NYUNGAR WARDAN KATITJIN BIDI – DERBAL NARA.  (People’s Ocean Knowledge Trail of Cockburn Sound & Districts) … go for a walk down to the Wardan Gepa Boodjaralup at Derbal Nara – the sea shore at Cockburn Sound. We would like to lead you along a katitjin bidi – a knowledge trail.

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