Northam – 1850s

Northam town site evolved, as more settlers took up land. Noongar people moved to camps around the Avon Valley, ‘where they lived on animals and plants that they could find. They also received rations from settlers and the Government’. [xvi]

Fires were a major problem for settlers throughout the 1850s. Many fires were caused by mismanagement or neglect by Europeans. [xvii] It caused severely denuded pastures, unsuitable for stock or crops.

Noongar people would ‘fire the ground’ or set it on fire, as a natural way to regenerate growth and find game, such as kangaroos. This caused enormous conflict with the settlers who did not appreciate (or comprehend) this practice.

Noongar people from the Avon Valley guided explorers travelling inland looking for new pastoral lands.

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