Wp/nys/Kwenda

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Kwenda

Kwernt/Kwinda/Went – Quenda has the English name Southern brown bandicoot, and its scientific name is Isoodon obesulus. Quenda is an alternative English name in Noongar Boodjar, presumably from the Noongar 'kwinda'.[1] Its conservation status is 'Least Concern'.[2]

Kwenda is a nyit (small) marsupial. Nidja barna is djel ward Noongar boodjar in the kongal marawar of Western Australia. (This animal is only found in Noongar country in the south-west of Western Australia.) Kwenda baronga belonging to a Noongar clan group. Bandang moort identifies with keny ka more baronga wer baalabany cultural responsibility to care for ali baronga. (Each family identifies with one or more totems and it is their cultural responsibility to care for that totem.)[3]

Moort responsible for kwenda must make sure baal ngardang not too boola kwenda for mereny wer mart are bangal to breed wer maintain the population. (Those who are responsible for the kwenda must make sure that not too many kwenda are hunted for food and there are some/group left behind to breed and maintain the population.)[4] Nidja warniny (This action) ensures a sustainable balance between ngaarniny (consumption) wer preservation. These spiritual responsibilities also help to define one’s relationship with the world wer the stories of creation.

title Noel Nannup discusses this sense of spirituality in his video

Cultural use[edit | edit source]

Kwenda from the Perth Hills in Western Australia

Kwenda is an important mereny (food) source. As a nyit (small) marsupial yoka (women) wer koorlangka (children) would often ngardang (hunt) for the Kwenda while the maaman (men) were ngardanginy (hunting) koomba barna (larger animals). This is often done by lighting nyit (small) karla (fires) to drive the Kwenda wer other barna into the open making them easier to wandang (kill/catch).[5] The daadja (meat) is then dookoonor (cooked) in the hot coals wer ngaarn (eaten). Kwenda are usually biyoo kedalak (awake [at] night time)[6] but can be active during the kedala (day) in the nyidiny (cold) seasons of Djeran, Makuru and Djilba (April-September). They ngan nort (insect), worms wer maalkakoom noomar (wild mushroom/fungus) although modern kwenda have adapted to ngan many types of scraps they find left from human mereny.[7]

The bwok (fur coat) of the kwenda is also a resource for warniny (making) things.[8] Nyit barna bwok such as kwenda wer goomal (possum) can be spun into long strands for nulbarn (belts) wer koonyi (head bands).[9] This process takes boola hours and is done by kooranginy (rubbing together) or twisting the fibres on the inside of the yatj (thigh).[10]

Kwenda is a particularly koomba mereny source during Djilba (August-September) when yonga (kangaroo), kwenda, waitj (emu) wer koomal were ngardanginy.[11] Kwenda is also mentioned during Birak (December-January) through to Bunuru (February – March) when controlled karla were lit in the scrublands to force the barna out into the open. This karla also encouraged the growth of new plants in Djilba (August-September) which would then attract barna such as the kwenda to korl (return) to the boodjar.[12]

In wedjala author Scott Nind’s observations of the Minang Noongars of King George’s Sound he wrote that yok (girl) after the age of eleven or twelve would rarely ngan (eat) kwenda as it was considered to affect fertility.[13] Different mereny such as kwenda can often have not only seasonal practices around when and how they are ngaan, but also cultural and spiritual practices identifying who could consume certain plants and barna and when.

Kwenda video

Stories[edit | edit source]

The Kwenda is featured in a Nyittiny (creation time) story recorded by Daisy Bates and shared in the collaborative history Ngalak koora koora djinang (Looking back together) titled Kwenda, Djilidjili and Wata (Bandicoot, Sparrowhawk and Pigeon) which discusses the importance of karla. It tells that:

“Kwenda had fire (karla) but he kept it hidden under his tail (nirnt), and would not share it. Djilidjili and Wata chased (moordalang) him until they reached…Kwenda’s uncle (kongk). Kwenda threw (koordidjiny) the fire (karla) to his uncle but a spark fell onto Wata’s beard (ngarnak) and smouldered. Overjoyed they hurried home (kala) putting a lot of fire (karla) into the balga, the kwel (she-oak) and the mangatj (banksia) but only a little (nyit) into the jarrah and marri."[14][15]

The story teaches an important lesson in plants that naariny (burn) moorditj (good) wer those that do not. This kaartdijin (knowledge) is vital for survival, as karla plays an important part in many aspects of daily life including dookerniny (cooking), ngardanginy, warniny (making) tools, medicine wer kaarny (spiritual) practices.

Place names[edit | edit source]

Noongar regions map

A number of contemporary place names are thought to be derived from the word Kwenda.

    • Quindalup in the Wardandi Noongar region of South-West WA can be translated to the place of quenda’s [Quinda (Kwenda) – up (Place of)].[16]
    • Cunderdin in the Ballardong Noongar wheatbelt region is said to possibly be derived from the word Kwenda, although there are limited references for this name.[17]
    • Kundip in the Wadjari Noongar region of Southern WA “means the place of the mother marsupial rat, bandicoot, commonly known today as the kwenda.”[18]




Ngiyan waarnk[edit | edit source]

  1. "Living with Quendas" pdf. Land for Wildlife and the Department for Conservation and Land Management, Govt. WA. April 2001. Archived 20 September 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2019
  2. "Southern Brown Bandicoot". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 10 February 2019
  3. https://www.noongarculture.org.au/spirituality/ "Spirituality" Kaartdijin Noongar: Sharing Noongar Culture [accessed 1 October 2018]
  4. http://www.derbalnara.org.au/moort-totems "Moieties and Totems" Nyungar Wardan Katitjin Bidi: Derbal Nara [accessed 1 October 2018]
  5. Recording traditional knowledge: Our countries, our stories, our people’, 2008, Avon Catchment Council, Available from: https://www.wheatbeltnrm.org.au/sites/default/files/knowledge_hub/documents/RTKlitweb_0.pdf p.73
  6. Wheatbelt NRM Boodjin storybook 2015, p.13 Available from: http://www.wheatbeltnrm.org.au/sites/default/files/knowledge_hub/documents/Boodjin%20storybook%20-%20Web2.pdf
  7. https://australianmuseum.net.au/southern-brown-bandicoot "Southern Brown Bandicoot" January 2011, Australian Museum
  8. Noongar seasons. Courtesy of Kulbardi Productions, Murdoch University Available from https://www.noongarculture.org.au/food/?searched=yes
  9. Wandju Wandju Nidja Nyoongar Boodjar. Kings Park and Botanic Gardends. Available from: https://www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/images/pdf/kings_park/b_aboriginal_life_v0817.pdf [accessed 13 October 2018]
  10. Lofgren, M.E., 1975, Patterns of life. The story of the Aboriginal people of Western Australia. Western Australian Museum Information Series No. 6, Western Australian Museum, Perth, pp.56-57
  11. Recording traditional knowledge: Our countries, our stories, our people’, 2008, Avon Catchment Council, Available from: https://www.wheatbeltnrm.org.au/sites/default/files/knowledge_hub/documents/RTKlitweb_0.pdf p.73
  12. Department of Conservation and Land Management Exploring woodlands with nyoongars 1998, p.42 Available from: https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/images/documents/get-involved/n2n/schools/excursions/Exploring%20Woodlands%20With%20Nyoongars.pdf
  13. Scott Nind Description of the Natives of King George's Sound (Swan River Colony) and Adjoining Country 1831 p.37
  14. Bates, D. Aboriginal Perth Bibbulmun biographies and legends, Hesperion Press, Western Australia, 1992 pp.167-8
  15. Robertson et al. 2016 ‘Ngalak koora koora djinang (Looking back together): a Nyoongar and scientific collaborative history of ancient Nyoongar boodja’ Australian Aboriginal Studies, Vol.1 pp.40-54
  16. https://web.archive.org/web/20161219003335/https://www.margaretriver.com/a-dream-of-time-aboriginal-tourism-in-margaret-river/ "A dream of time - Aboriginal tourism in your Margaret River region" Mia Lacy, 2015
  17. Department of Conservation and Land Management Exploring woodlands with nyoongars 1998, p.42 Available from: https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/images/documents/get-involved/n2n/schools/excursions/Exploring%20Woodlands%20With%20Nyoongars.pdf p.101
  18. Collard. L, Bracknell. C and Rooney. A "Nyungar names of the boodjar or land in the southwest of Australia and their interpretations" Available from: https://web.archive.org/web/20190308220821/http://www.boodjar.sis.uwa.edu.au/_literature_131390/Nyungar_Boodjera_Wangkiny