Mandjoogoordap, meaning ‘meeting place of the heart’ the original name of Mandurah given by traditional owners and custodians of the land – the Bindjareb Noongar people, have looked after the Djilba (estuary) for over 50,000 years.
Bindjareb Nyungar Country – How Mandurah’s waters came to be
Mandjoogoordap, meaning ‘meeting place of the heart’ the original name of Mandurah given by traditional owners and custodians of the land – the Bindjareb Nyungar people have looked after the Djilba (estuary) for over 50,000 years.
How Mandurah’s waters came to be is a fascinating First Nation creation story. Learn more about this Dreamtime story and how you can explore these stunning waterways today.
As depicted in Bindjareb Nyungar Elder and highly respected artist Gloria Keating’s painting, it begins with a terrible drought.
The Aboriginal people of Mandurah found there were no waterways, so they went to the beach where they danced and sung for the great Waugal (snake) to come out of the sea. She came and began to create the Peel inlet and estuary.
She found she was carrying eggs and rested in between the estuary until her eggs hatched. Too tired, she instructed her babies to do the rest of the work. She sent one to create the Serpentine River, one to produce the Murray River and one to make the Harvey River, which formed the unique shape of Mandurah today.
How you can experience the world’s oldest living culture
There are many tours that explore the unique cultural heritage of Mandurah. Whether it’s a walking tour, overnight camping trip or a visit to Bindjareb Park in Pinjarra, you’ll learn about the Bindjareb Nyungar people and the places significant to them.
Include one or more of these tours on your next visit to Mandurah and the Peel region:
Thrombolites (Woggaal’s Noorook) tour
Take a trip with Mandjoogoordap Dreaming, where you’ll go on an exciting walking tour around the Lake Clifton Thrombolites – the world’s oldest bacterial life form. This rare and endangered natural feature is also significant in local Aboriginal culture, represented in the Dreaming story of the Woggaal’s (Waugal’s) eggs. Tours to this remarkable site depart by bus from Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.
Goolamwiin overnight camping tour
Come on an unforgettable journey exploring Aboriginal culture with Goolamwiin. Go hunting for bush tucker, medicine plants and freshwater, before setting up camp for the night. Participate in Aboriginal dance and experience a cultural healing ceremony. Enjoy an authentic campfire dinner and learn more about the Nyungar people listening to Dreamtime stories under the stars.
Extending a Welcome to Country through art
As part of the renovations at the Mandurah Visitor Centre, we were excited to invite Bindjareb Boodja artists to submit artwork that reflects Bindjareb Boodja, its waterways, coastal location, local flora and fauna or cultural stories connected to the area.
The winning artwork by Peta & Corey Ugle is featuring as part of the decorative Welcome to Country’ design on the main wall of the refurbished Mandurah Visitor Centre reception area. This amazing mural was officially unveiled in December 2021 and is telling the Aboriginal story of our Mandjoogoordap (Mandurah).
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Learn from the Bindjareb people of the Noongar nation.
Learn about the
of the Noongar
Kaya Wandjoo, nidja Bindjareb Noongar Kaadadjan (hello, welcome and learn from the Bindjareb people of the Noongar nation).
The first people of the region were the Bindjareb people of the Noongar Nation, who named the locality Mandjoogoordap (now Mandurah) which translates to ‘meeting place of the heart’. You can learn the stories, secrets and traditions of one of the oldest surviving cultures in earth on an Aboriginal history and culture tour, at significant sites and art galleries.
Mandurah Eastern Foreshore – the curved design of the seawall reflects the shapes of the Wagyl, a major spirit of Noongar people. Central to their beliefs and customs, the Wagyl is a snake or rainbow serpent recognised by Noongar as the giver of life, maintaining all fresh water sources.
Mandurah Bridge – on the wall at the western end of the bridge’s footpath is a welcome to country written in Noongar dialect.
Bonu-Wongie – Message Stick – located on Mandurah’s Eastern Foreshore, this sculpture represents the invitation from the Winjan Aboriginal Community to the City of Mandurah to work together.
Bindjareb Fishing Site – located on Mandurah’s Eastern Foreshore, this site highlights the cultural significance of the waterways for the local Aboriginal people.
Yaburgurt Memorial – located on Mandjar Square, this memorial celebrates and commemorates the life of the Aboriginal leader Yaburgurt, also known as George Winjan, a survivor of the Pinjarra Massacre of 1834. The artwork consists of a spherical shape with tall glass panels that represent the six Noongar seasons as well as highlighting Mandurah’s Aboriginal ancient and contemporary aspects of life and culture.
Connection at Stingray Bay – this steel sculpture honours the spirit of the site’s traditional owners and its significance as an ancient meeting place.
Seascapes Walkway – located in Halls Head, this 3 km footpath from Halls Head to Falcon features interpretive signs with information on native species and the traditional Aboriginal use of plants and animals.
Let George Walley take you on a journey through Mandurah or the region’s bushland and waterways. Hear Dreamtime stories and visit significant sites and learn about bush tucker on a walking, boat cruise or bus tour, departing from Mandurah. Find out more.
Learn about the Noongar people, discover bush tucker and medicinal plants, hear storytelling and get hands on with Aboriginal tools on these Aboriginal cultural bush tours and overnight camping experiences, departing from Mandurah. Find out more.
Step into the Dreamtime, learn about ancient dreaming stories and join in a yarning circle. Be guided on an ancient Dreaming Trail bush walk in Dwellingup while learning about traditional hunting. Find out more.
This 22ha nature sanctuary in Pinjarra is home to native wildlife including rare bird species such as the red-tailed black cockatoo. When visiting, you can join a tour to learn about the bush, local Dreamtime stories and taste bush tucker. Tours run every Saturday at 10am and bookings are essential. Bindjareb Park also holds Six Season dinners throughout the year. Find out more.
Forest Heritage Centre
At Forest Heritage Centre in Dwellingup you can learn about the Aboriginal six seasons, traditional nutrition and listen to Dreamtime stories with Aboriginal Elders as you make and eat a damper and kangaroo supper.
Mandurah Community Museum
The Mandurah Community Museum has a well-established oral history program with one of its main focuses being the collection of stories and life histories of Aboriginal people in the Peel region.
The Peel Yalgorup Wetlands have special significance for the Noongar people as important sources of food and water, used for ceremonial purposes and are part of the dreaming and their natural beliefs. Whilst all waterways are important to the Noongar people, some significant Aboriginal heritage sites include campsites at the Serpentine River mouth and Island Point and a ceremonial site at Egg Island. Please respect the cultural significance of these sites.
Bilya Country Story Trail© is an interactive trail map that details 13 important sites to commemorate places of historical and cultural interest to the Mandurah Bindjareb community. Please respect the cultural significance of these sites.
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