Did you know the Nyungar name for the City of Cockburn is Beeliar Boodjar? Or that Bibra Lake is called Walliabup in the Nyungar language?
Beeliar are one of the clans of the Whadjuk group of Nyungar – with Beeliar Nyungar literally meaning River people.
Long-time Cockburn resident Reverend Sealin Garlett said,
“Boodjar means land to Aboriginal people.
It really is the sense of identity and sense of belonging.
This is Demangarmarn, my grandmother and grandfather’s land; this is their land where their spirits move now.
Boorda, or later on, this is going to be the responsibility of my children and my children’s children; their home and this place will always be linked to their spirit.”
More than 80 sign-posted suburbs, streets and landmarks across the City of Cockburn have Nyungar names.
Some examples of Nyungar names for places across the City include:
- Yangebup (Yangebup Lake): place of the bullrushes.
- Kogolup (Kogolup Lake): place of the quokka.
- Jilbup (Thompson Lake): place of grass.
- Toodjabubup (Banganup Lake): place of mist.
- Derbal Nara (Cockburn Sound): estuary of salmon.
Dr Joan Winch has lived in the Cockburn and Fremantle areas since 1942 and noted:
“Bibra Lake was the one that we used to go to. And there was so much water in those days because the kids used to swim there… and of course there was a lot of brumbies, wild horses you’d come across.
Another place we used to go out to… we used to ride our bikes with dad down to Robb’s Jetty and go fishing.
I think there were quandong trees out along that way.”
Check out some of the Indigenous Oral Histories available in the:
The Beeliar Boodjar Booklet has been compiled as an introduction to Cockburn’s rich Aboriginal history, based on existing literature and oral history.
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