Northam – Pre Contact

Nearly 100 Noongar cultural sites exist in and around the towns of Northam, York, Toodyay, Mundaring, Kondinin, Hyden and the Avon Valley National Park. Throughout these areas there are mythological paintings, scar trees, animal traps, quarries, caves, stone arrangements and artefact scatters between 30,000 and 40,000 years old.[i]

In the York area there are two significant caves which are Noongar sites of art and rituals. Dale’s Cave contains hand stencilling and a circular motif painted in ochre, which is a pigment made from different soils. Frieze’s cave features ‘short, parallel orange-ochre painted strokes’.[ii] In the Hyden area another significant cave is Mulka’s Cave. It has a hand print on the ceiling of the cave.

Burlong Pool, just outside Northam on the Avon River, is an important place for ceremonies, hunting and camping for Noongar people.[iii] The pool is a spiritual and mythological site to which the river serpent, the Waugal, travelled underground from Bolgart. There the Waugal stayed in the long and deep pool during the summer months. [iv] Several Noongar sites exist near Burlong. These include mythological sites, paintings, and a reserve.[v]

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