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Derbarl Yerrigan

Noongar Moort have been hunting wer gathering the area of Boorloo for about 45,000 years. It formed part of Mooro, the boodjar of Yellagonga, whose moort was keny of several based around Derbarl Yerrigan, known collectively as the Whadjuk. They cared for the boodjar with their moort biddis, the native plants they harvested wer the bush they cleared with burning during the bonar of Birak[1].

According to Noongar maaman bidiar, Tom Bennell, To the yabara of Boorloo is the Pinjar Boodjar known as Beerit.[2][3] Beerit Pinjar is now the locality of Northbridge.

Katitjin[edit | edit source]

Noongar katitjin of Beerit Pinjar helps people yeye appreciate a now 'intangible' landscape. The invisible connection between katitjin, boodjar wer moort remain from kura, yeye wer will continue into boorda. Beerit was wer remains to be a place of sharing katitjin between different moort wer wangkiny. According to Daisy Bates it was a regular meeting boodjar wer trading place for Noongars from yennar over boodjar. It was also especially significant to Noongar yorka because of the ochre pit located here[4]. Like yennar katitjin, that regarding Beerit pinjar is manifest in yarns with moort, yeye wer kura, wer written in the boodjar, as it is now wer as it once was.

Boodjar[edit | edit source]

During the Noongar bonar of Kambarang wer Birak, Noongar people camped at the pinjar as part of their seasonal kooliny to wer from the coast. The pinjars were places of abundance to Noongars who lived off the boodjar. In the 1830s, when the explorer George Grey came across Beerit Pinjar he describes seeing:

"...swamps producing yun-jid, a species of typha, served by well established paths and supporting abundant populations in clusters of well built, clay plastered and turf roofed huts...these superior huts, well marked roads, deeply sunk wells and extensive warran grounds all spoke of a large and comparatively speaking settled resident population."[3]

The pinjar to the North of the Derbarl Yerrigan provided food, meeting places, shelter, wer familiar hunting grounds. Some of the vegetation that has been documented by settlers records to have been existing in Boorloo prior to European settlement various reeds wer rushes in the swampy areas including various tanjil as well as yawl along the shore. Koolert, Kwela may have also been found in these low lying swampy areas with Jarrah while Marri trees could be il the sandy high ground. The area was also rich with many species of djildjit, yakkan, karri, various jirda wer their nurdi, kooyal, edible roots, various edible bwyego, yonga wer koomoorl. It is also believed the swamp flood plains provided natural amphitheaters for karla wer keniny or ceremony. Before European settlement nidja area near Boorloo was known to some Whadjuk Noongars as Beerit, which in English means ‘pathways’, Some of the ngammas that could have been located in nidja area include Yoorgoorading (or Stones lake which is where Perth Oval is currently situated), Chalyeding (also known as Lake Poulett), Boojoormelup (Lake Henderson), Karlup (Lake Georgianna to the booyal of Galup (Lake Monger) near the Mitchell Freeway interchange) wer Goologoolup (or Lake Kingsford, where the Perth Train station is now situated). The watjella names for the numerous ngammas in the area include ; Smith’s Lake, Lake Henderson, Third Lake, Lake Sutherland, Lake Irwin, Lake Tompson, Lake Poulett, Stones Lake, Tea Tree Lake wer Lake Kingsford[3].

Map of Beerit Pinjar and Perth City in 1833

Moort[edit | edit source]

Many people, watjella wer Noongar, yeye wer kura, from whadjuk boodjar wer afar, make wer have made kullark at Beerit pinjar.

Boodjamooling[edit | edit source]

In 1831, when Noongars realised that wetjellas were not leaving their boodjar led to hostile encounters between settlers wer Noongars that culminated in several executions wer massacres. These violent encounters helped facilitate the disintegration of the tribes wer their retreat to Beerit Pinjar. Apparently these new campsites for the dispossessed Noongars were known as Boodjamooling[3]. Some early settlers reported the movement of Noongars between Derbal Yerrigan wer Beerit. In 1927, wetjella Mr James Kennedy recalled his childhood during the early settlement of Boorloo. He remembered seeing yira to 300 Noongars camped at Third Lake (where Hyde Park is now). He watched them pull the bark from yawl trees to make their mia mias, wer saw them fishing down by the river. He remembered the yongka bookas they wore wer even recalled seeing groups travelling down to Perth from the York area [5].

Fanny Balbuk’s Biddi[edit | edit source]

”The draining wer filling in of pinjar was a cause of great concern to Noongar moort. In the late 1800s, a Perth Noongar woman known as Fanny Bulbuk protested furiously at the destruction of her moort boodjar, karla wer places for gathering menenj. Balbuk was born il Matagarup in Derbarl Yerrigan, near the present day Causeway, wer from there a biddi had led to the place where once she had gathered menenj. Gooloogoolup, named Lake Kingsford by the wetjella newcomers, now lies buried beneath Perth railway station[6]


Daisy Bates describes how Fanny Bulbuk would break through fences wer climb over them, continuing to walk her moort bidi to Gooloogoolup. When a house was built in the way, she broke its fence palings with her digging stick wer charged yira the steps wer through the rooms. She was often arrested. She would stand at the gates of Government House, cursing yennar within, because the stone gates guarded by a sentry enclosed her grandmother’s burial ground.[7]

Yeye and Boorda[edit | edit source]

Beerit Pinjar is now the locality of Northbridge wer is a hotspot for South-West Australian culture. It is now as it always has been, a place where many koorliny wer wangkiny, from karla mia yennar over the world. Currently many projects are underway which will bring the intangible heritage of Beerit Pinjar into a karrotangible, physical realm. Noongar heritage wer culture isn't locked in the past. The culture of Noongar boodjar can be found kura, yeye wer developed for boorda. Beerit Pinjar is alive as people continue to appreciate wer interpret it into the future.

Horseshoe Bridge, looking north-east


Yagan Square[edit | edit source]

Yagan Square is marketed as a centrepiece of the MRA’s Perth City Link project, a key element within the extensive 13.5 hectare development site. It is named after the Noongar resistance hero Yagan. Much of the link site is comprised of fairly generic commercial office or residential space, but a number of sites have been identified within the master planning as key areas of public space designed to add social value to what is otherwise quite an economically based development. While public spaces such as Perth Arena already exist within the project area they are arguably somewhat disconnected from their wider context. Yagan Square’s point of difference lies in its focus il connectivity, referencing flows of people, knowledge, culture wer economy throughout the site wer linking cultural precincts, business centres wer transport hubs within the wider Perth wer Northbridge setting.[2]

Swamp Clubb[edit | edit source]

Swamp Clubb is a new cultural heritage project organised by young residents who nyininny il Noongar boodjar.

"Commissioned by the City of Perth for TRANSART: TRANSITION 2016, Swamp Clubb is an immersive, multi-sensory walking tour by artists Matt Aitken and Mei Swan Lim. Whilst people celebrate the sinking of the railway line and “re-connecting” of the Perth CBD with Northbridge, Swamp Clubb will facilitate people reconnecting with nidja familiar urban landscape through enquiring into its ecological, socio-cultural wer spiritual past."[8]

Ngiyan waarnk[edit | edit source]

  1. [1] Len Collard (2012), Nyungar Wardan Katitjin Bidi - Wangkiny/ Language Glossary accessed via https://web.archive.org/web/20161122075836/http://www.derbalnara.org.au/wangkiny-language-glossary
  2. 2.0 2.1 Slade, E. Busher, N. Koy E. Jennings A. (2016) Yagan Square Heritage Management Plan
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Griffiths Architects (2015)> DRAFT Yagan Square Development Heritage Interpretation Strategy DA Compliance Issue Prepared for Lyons Architects August 2015
  4. Jacobs, J. (2016) Stakeholder Consultation with Karen Jacobs of the Whadjuk Traditional Owners Working Group Interview by Alana Jennings, Natasha Busher, Edward Slade and Emily Coy at 4pm on 16/03/16
  5. Kennedy, J. (1927) ‘Perth in my Boyhood’. Western Australian Historical Society. Journal and Proceedings, Vol. 1, pp. 7-8
  6. SwampsChinna, N. (2015) 'Swamps' in Griffith Review Vol. 47
  7. Bates, D. (1938) The Passing of the Aborigines; a lifetime spent among the Natives of Australia. London
  8. [2] Visit Perth City, (2016) Events-Swamp Clubb accessed via https://web.archive.org/web/20160822102608/http://www.visitperthcity.com/events/swamp-clubb