Northam -1890s

As a sign Noongar lore and custom was still very much vibrant, a big corroboree was held in Northam, near the hospital.[xxi]

1899: A large group of Noongars gathered for another corroboree at the Government Well reserve, one and a half miles from Northam. Most had been shepherding for station owners and they came back to their traditional country where they met other family groups for ceremonies and meetings.

A European observer described the corroborees: ‘Dances were held every evening and they took up a collection from the Europeans who went to watch.’[xxii] About 35 of the Noongars were from the Northam district, the remainder came from Victoria Plains, Newcastle, York, Southern Cross and Coolgardie.[xxiii]

Aboriginal people all over Australia follow this practice of returning to country at periodic intervals for ceremony and cultural reasons. It is often mistakenly referred to as ‘walkabout’ or ‘going on pinkeye’.

A letter to the editor in the Northam Advertiser, calling for sympathy, noted the poor living conditions and health of Noongars.[xxiv]

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