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Nartj Nitja - Who is this?[edit | edit source]

Koora, nitja baal Nebinyan Minang boodjar nyininy

Nebinyan was from Two Peoples Bay and Tambellup. He performed a song cycle based on his experiences as a member of a shore-based whaling team. [1]

In the early twentieth-century performed a dance developed from a military drill originally performed by Matthew Flinders marines when they left Albany after camping there for three weeks in 1801. [2]

Flinders described the marines' drill and the interest of Noongar people in it like this:

The watering of the ship ... (was) ... completed, the rigging was refitted, the sails repaired and bent, and the ship unmoored. Our friends, the natives, continued to visit us; and the old man, with several others being at the tents this morning, I ordered the party of marines on shore, to be exercised in their presence. The red coats and white crossed belts were greatly admired, having some resemblance to their own manner of ornamenting themselves; and the drum, but particularly the fife, excited their astonishment; but when they saw these beautiful red-and-white men, with their bright muskets, drawn up in a line, they absolutely screamed with delight; nor were their wild gestures and vociferations to be silenced, but by commencing the exercise. To which they paid the most earnest and silent attention. Several of them moved their hands, involuntarily, according to the motions; and the old man placed himself at the end of the rank, with a short staff in his hand, which he shouldered, presented, grounded, as did the marines their muskets, without, I believe, knowing what he did. Before firing, the Indians were made acquainted with what was going to take place; so that the volleys did excite such terror. [3]

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. White Isobel The Natives of Tribes of Western Australia, Canberra;National Library of Australia, 1985, p. 342)
  2. Isobel White, "The birth and Death of a ceremony," in Aboriginal History Vol.4 1- 2 (1980), pp. 33-41.)
  3. Matthew Flinders, A voyage to Terra Australia undertaken for the purpose of completing the discovery of that vast country and prosecuted in the years 1801, 1802, and 1803 in his Majesty's ship the investigator (london : G. and W. Nicol, 1814).