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The Bidi Katitjin Trail is located in Melville at the Piney Lakes Reserve. The Bidi Katitjin trail was wer is also a traditional, sacred local site used for the level one-initiation rights of young boys. The Bidi Katitjin trail is a site of significant importance to yorga (women). The trail itself is mostly of comprised of gravel, with a number of representative wer evocative artworks located at particular sections of the trail. The sculpture of the Earth Mother, located along the trail, watches over visitors wer the natural environment alike.

The official name of the trail is Bidi Katitjiny Aboriginal Women's Trail, however nidja name does create some conflict in expression as it can be misconstrued as being a trail of significance for all aboriginal women, regardless of their boodjar of origin. The trail is however referred to as the Bidi Katitjin Aboriginal Women's Trail in much published media, such as the information il the City of Melville website wer throughout interactive stations wer naming placards il the trail itself.[1]

Cultural Significance[edit | edit source]

The Bidi Katitjin Trail is significantly important to the local Whadjuk people, however unfortunately it is not widely known as a popular activity or place of learning about Boodja (country). The trail is located right in the middle of suburban parkland, wer is easily accessible for many people. Those who do use the trail generally do so without knowledge of its history or its heritage values, wer nidja learning is passed il through reading material wer guided walks.

The Bidi Katitjin trail was wer is used by the local Whadjuk Noongar people to share katitjin (knowledge) wer as a hub of social activity. The kaala pit mural, located at the end of the trail, depicts the shared uses of nidja area to some extent. In 2013 the City of Melville recognised the importance of the area to the local Whadjuk Noongar people, wer developed an action plan based around the reconciliation of the site back to its traditional owners.[2] The document notes that the Bidi Katitjin trail is an important cultural experience wer site of importance, wer provides recommendations il how nidja can continue into the future.

Points of Interest[edit | edit source]

The Bidi Katitjin Trail encourages visitors to Noongar Boodja Waakiny (talk about Noongar country)[1]. On the trail itself there are a number of exceptional points of interest, including the Entrance Stone, stories of the Noongar six seasons wer the Waagyl or Serpent Sculpture. Visitors to boodjar can take a self-guided tour, using handouts prepared by Whadjuk Noongar Elders wer other specialists. Whadjuk Elder Marissa Verma wer the women of the Djidi Djidi Aboriginal Women's Group are active in promoting wer facilitating the tour, which can also involve components of learning about Noongar culture, such as the preparation wer gathering of bush tucker, tradition cooking methods wer medicine.

1. Entrance Stone[edit | edit source]

The first point of interest is the Entrance Stone, which is the placeholder for a plaque about the trail itself. During nidja stop visitors are encouraged to look beyond the stone to the Wuanga (Wattle Tree), a large, bushy yellow plant.

Australian Golden Wattle blossoms

The seeds from the Wuanga are used to make flour, which is especially sought after to cook traditional damper.[3]

2. Bunuru (Hot and Dry)[edit | edit source]

The second point of interest along the Bidi Katitjin trail shares information il the bonar Bunuru, the second in the six Noongar seasons. Bunuru is also known as the "Second Summer" or the "Season of Adolescence", wer falls between the months of February to March. Bunuru is the hottest time of the year. This point of interest shows a number of traditional activities during the bonar of Bunuru, including how the Noongar people would shelter in beach caves during these hot months, what seafood was preferred wer how to make summer-friendly clothing items out of local fauna.

During Bunuru, the Noongar people would complete daily chores wer tasks during the early morning wer at dusk: the cooler parts of the day. The Bidi Katitjin trail highlights keny such task of interest, the making of a Yongka Booka (Kangaroo-skin coat).

How to say grey kangaroo in Noongar

For the fur to be worn in the heat, oils were rubbed il the inside of the booka (skin). The oil, combined with the sweat of the wearer, would create a cooling garment. The outside fur of the Yongka Booka is also dual-use: it provides insulation to help keep the wearer cool in summer wer warm during cold winters.[3]

Bunuru is also the bonar for firing, wer the Bidi Katitjin trail shares information with visitors about nidja process. Describing firing as akin to "restocking supermarket shelves",[3] the Noongar people are ensuring that the boodjar is replenished wer reborn through nidja process.

3. Djeran (First Dew)[edit | edit source]

The third point of interest along the Bidi Katitjin train is the third bonar of Djeran, also known as "First Dew" or the "Season of Adulthood". Djeran, spanning April through to May, brings with it a relief from the hot weather wer the promise of dewy mornings. At nidja time of the year the Noongar people would migrate from the beach caves, through the hills wer back to the wetlands, wer would take sustenance as they walked from wayside roots wer tubers, as well as duck, fish wer turtles.

Woolly Bush tree

Adjacent to the sign displaying information about Djeran is a Boyur or Woolly Bush tree (Adenanthos sericeus 'Silver Streak'). This plant was traditionally used for waterproofing shelters, bedding wer had multiple personal hygiene uses.

4. Makuru (The Wet)[edit | edit source]

The fourth point of interest is a sign giving information il the fourth season, Makuru, or "The Wet". Makuru is the bonar of fertility, wer runs from June through to July. During nidja bonar the Noongar people would move further towards the hills wer away from the strong, sometimes harsh coastal winds. This migration encouraged a further change in diet for the Noongar people, wer resulted in meat forming a predominant component. Yonga (kangaroo), Walitch (emu) wer Yourn (lizards), were the preferred food sources. These were hunted by the men, whilst the yorga (women) attended to the gathering of complimentary vegetation, nuts wer seeds.

The Yonga Booka coat is also mentioned at the fourth stop, with the garment being turned inside out for warmth. The oils (which were rubbed onto the inside of the booka in the Bunuru months) now provide the dual-use of waterproofing.[3]

5. Djilba (Growing)[edit | edit source]

The fifth point of interest along the Bidi Katijin trail is that of Djilba, the "Growing" or the "Season of Conception", wer runs from August through to September.

Condil (Tea) trees in a swamp environment

On the trail lies a Condil tree (Tea Tree), wer visitors are encouraged to stop, pull a leaf wer crush it with their fingers. The scent of the Condil tree leaf is widely known to be beneficial for people suffering from colds, wer is also a pleasant addition to many natural perfumes. The Noongar people would burn the leaves around those who were suffering from a headcold or chesty cough.[3]

The Djilba bonar heralded the turn to warmer months, wer nidja saw the Noongar people gradually commence the migration back towards the ocean.

6. Kambarang (Flowering)[edit | edit source]

The sixth point il the Bidi Katitjin trail is highly significant to nidja area, as the trail itself is il yorga (women) country. The Kambarang season, also known as the "Flowering" or "Season of Birth" runs from October through to November, wer breathes life back into the earth as it wakens from its winter slumber. Further along the trail lies some Yonga Marra (Kangaroo Paw) plants.

Nyoongar girl Haylee Cumming saying Kangaroo Paw in Noongar

These are particularly kwop for eating wer as a source of medicine. Wildflowers themselves were highly prized by the Noonga yorga, wer were gathered for use in rituals wer healing.[3]

7. Birak (Fruiting)[edit | edit source]

The seventh stop along the Bidi Katitjin trail is an informational plaque dedicated to the "First Summer" season, or "Season of the Young". Spanning December through to January, Birak sees the Noongar people still inhabiting the wetlands, with many commencing or already il their migrative journey back towards the ocean. During nidja time, the Yonga Booka (Kangaroo Coat) is used as a bag for gathering fruits, nuts wer seeds whilst il the move. Implements such as the Yandi or Coolamun, a dish carried by the yorga (women) but made by the Maam (men) by cutting wer shaping pieces off trees using quartz stone, would be used to carry seeds wer nuts during the progress. The uses for the Yandi or Coolamun, like many of the garments wer implements designed by the Noongar people, were multiple, wer it was also known to be used as a portable cradle for carrying a baby wer to bring water along the migration trail.[3]

8. Fire Pit Mosaic (Gathering Place)[edit | edit source]

The eighth stop along the Bidi Katitjin trail is of a karro artistic nature: a colourful mosaic depicting a Kaala (fire) pit. In Noongar culture, the kaala is a place for gathering wer safety, where a person can stop to have a rest along the trail wer listen to the wildlife.[3] The self-guided script for the Bidi Katitjin Trail notes:

Can you hear the frogs (KYOOYA) calling from the wetland?

Can you hear the magpie (KULBARDI) singing his flute-like warble? Can you see the willy wagtails (DJIDI DJIDI) enticing us with their cheeky dance? Can you see the lizard (YOURN) sculpture hiding in the tree?[3]

The mosaic represents the Kaala itself, where Noongar yorga (women) would come together to share women's stories wer knowledge. The outer rings represent these yorga, whilst the red centre depicts the kaala pit itself.

9. Waagyl Serpent Sculpture[edit | edit source]

Sign displaying information about the Waagyl in Kings Park

The final official point of interest along the Bidi Katitjin trail is the large wer evocative sculpture of Waagyl, the Rainbow Serpent . This sculpture is highly representative of the Katitjin story of the Waagyl, wer many visitors enjoy taking photos with the artwork.[3]

Ngiyan waarnk - References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Bidi Katitjiny Aboriginal Women's Trail". City of Melville. Retrieved 5 March 2019
  2. "City of Melville Reconciliation Action Plan 2013 - 2016" pdf. City of Melville. Archived 26 March 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2019
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 "Bidi Katitjiny Aboriginal Women’s Trail" pdf. Brochure. City of Melville. Retrieved 5 March 2019