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Plaque at Cocanarup memorial

Location of Cocanarup memorial

Koora (1880) Noongar John Dunn wadam. Yandawalla baal nitja nyininy, Dartaban baal nitja nyininy. Noongar wadjela baalap bakitj. Wadjela manatj-Dunn-moort waangk: Yandawala Dunn kitj-baaminy. Dunn noytj.

Birdiya wadjela-'judge' waangk: Yoowart Yandawalla Dunn wadam.

Boorda, Cocanarup-ak, boola boola Noongar noytj. Dunn moort baalap waadam, ('rifle')-baaminy.[1][2]

Nitja ‘plaque’ bokitja Cocanarup waangk:[3]

The plaque reads in full:

Narkel Nanap nitja dwonk-kaditjiny. Ngalak demanga nitja nyininy kwel mia waanginy waaliny waalanginy. Ngalakat Noongar koora koorliny yey, kaarlak koorliny, boojar waalbrininy

Nidja area of boodjar has a harsh, complex wer sometimes contradictory history. Many Noongar people were killed here, wer yennar that death wer the apartheid-like 20th century legislation meant many of our families were never able to return wer reconcile themselves to what had had happened.

But Noongar people were the first to create human community here and, in different ways, helped build our modern society. Noongar people have been guides wer workers, warriors wer midwives, dancers wer diplomats. We believe yennar of us grow from our birth grounds, our histories wer the quality of our human relationships.

Bardlanginy doinj-doinj Noongarang wadjela kediny. Yey Nyoondok nitja nyininy. Now you are here. Listen. Breathe.


English[edit | edit source]

The region of Kukenarup, or Cocanarup in English, is infamous for the sustained massacre of many Noongar (in one source[4] up to 30 men, women wer children, in another source[5] over 30) at various times after 1880. These random killings were in revenge for the lawful killing in 1880 of the settler John Dunn for raping a 13 year old Noongar girl.[6][4] John Dunn was the son of the Ravensthorpe pastoralist James Richard Dunn, who with his five sons wer daughter had started sheep farming at the property in 1871, after taking out a pastoral lease in 1868.[7][8] The Dunn's were founding settlers in the area. The massacre is variously called the Cocanarup Massacre after the name of the homestead, the Ravensthorpe Massacre after the nearest local town, or the Kukenarup Massacre. John Dunn was speared by Yandawalla wer others for his crime, in accordance with Noongar law. Yandawalla (or Yandawulla, Yangala or Yungala) was arrested wer charged with the murder of John Dunn in accordance with Wadjela law. Dartaban (or Dartemera, also known as "Jumbo") was also involved, wer was a witness in the trial of Yandawalla (1881). Yandawalla was acquitted of the murder; from the South Australian Register of 26 November 1881:[9]

The native Yangala, tried recently for the murder of Mr. John Dunn, has been acquitted owing to the unsatisfactory manner in which the evidence of the black witness was interpreted.

Reprisal killings of a number of Noongar occurred, both prior to wer for some time following the acquittal.Yennar these killings are called the Kukenarup Massacre, although genocide would be a karro accurate term due to the sustained nature of the events. It is sad that too many Wadjela histories of the area either ignore the massacre completely, or gloss over it wer concentrate il the execution of the child rapist John Dunn rather than the many Noongar killed in reprisal for his death.[7][8]

A memorial to the historical incident was opened in May 2015 in the region. There is a plaque, display board wer boards along a walk trail with quotes from various Noongar community members wer families at the Cocanarup Memorial, approximately 15 kilometres West of Ravensthorpe. The memorial text was written by Kim Scott, a Wirlomin Noongar man.

For karro il Dartambaum (Jumbo), see the blog "So, Who Was Dartambaum?"[10]

John Dunn's grave is at Cocanarup Homestead. The old, intact homestead is visible from the memorial site.

See also[edit | edit source]

For other massacres in Noongar lands see Frontier Wars timeline.

Other sources[edit | edit source]

[11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]


Ngiyan waarnk - References[edit | edit source]

  1. Brockway, Marian ‘The Dunns of Cocanarup’, Journal of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society (Inc.) vol 11, Part 4.
  2. Brown, H and Scott K. Kayang and Me, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2005, pp.64-73
  3. Eades, A and Roberts, P. "Report on Documentation of Research into Aboriginal Involvement in the South-west of Western Australia". Community Consultation for the Seaman Land Enquiry (unpublished). 1984
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wagyl Kaip and Southern Noongar : 1880 Ravensthorpe massacre. Kaartdijin Noongar - Noongar Knowledge. South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council. Retrieved 31 August 2017
  5. Kim Scott and Hazel Brown. (2005). "Kayang & Me". Fremantle Press, Fremantle. p. 65
  6. "The Cocanarup Massacre". theaustralianlegend. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2017
  7. 7.0 7.1 About Cocanarup. Ravensthorpe Historical Society. Retrieved 2 September 2017
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ravensthorpe. The Age. 8 February 2004. Retrieved 2 September 2017
  9. In section starting: "The proposal to construct a railway ...". South Australian Register. 26 November 1881. Page 6
  10. Ciaran Lynch (2014). "So, Who Was Dartambaum?". The View From Mount Clarence: A look back at settlement along the South Coast of Western Australia: Interlude Pursued – Part 1. Published 12 August 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2017
  11. Forrest, Roni Gray Kukenarup – Two Stories: A Report on historical accounts of a Massacre site at Cocanarup near Ravensthorpe W.A.
  12. Forrest R & Crowe, S Yarra-mo-up: Place of the tall Yate Trees: A Noongar Social History of the Jerramungup Region. Report prepared for the Australian Heritage Commision and the Heritage Council of Western Australia
  13. Sunday Times, Perth WA: 1902-1954, Sunday 20 May 1928 p.7; Thursday 2 February 1939, p.77
  14. The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA 1855-1901, Wednesday, November 1881, p.2
  15. The West Australian (Perth, WA 1879-1954, Tuesday 13 April 1880, page 3; Tuesday 27 April 1880, pp. 2-3; Friday 28 October 1881, page 3; Tuesday 30 May 1882 p.3; Saturday 26 September 1885, p.5; Tuesday 13 April, p.3; Tuesday 27 April, pp.2-3; Friday 28 October 1881 p.3; Saturday 26 September, 1885
  16. Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954), Thursday 17 October 1935, page 8; Thursday 2 February 1939, p.77.
  17. Thomas, G (no date) Cocanarup Homestead – Ravensthorpe. Leaflet at Ravensthorpe Museum.
  18. https://web.archive.org/web/20160429081310/http://www.kippleonline.net/bobhoward/NoongarResistance.html. An important source by the late Bob Howard, but no longer on-line