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This page is a test site for the ARC Funded NoongarPedia Project. Here we will test the Wikimedia/Wikipedia software to asertain the usability, barriers and advantages in creating an online encylopedia of Noongar Kadadtjin or People of the South Wests knowledge.

Noongar Animals

marlee – swan

marlee was a fire carrier in the time of creation. However, he held the fire too long and it burnt his nose red and in his panic to put out the fire, stained his feathers underneath white. Before this he was known as murni or black bird.

koorlbardi – magpie

a fight ensued between the wardung and koorlbardi over who was more beautiful and could sing better. After the fight the koolbardi landed in mud which created the contemporary look of the animal with both black and white markings.

wardung - crow

a fight ensued between the wardung and koorlbardi over who was more beautiful and could sing better. After the fight the wardungs beak was damaged which gave him his trademark voice and sound we hear today.

yonga – kangaroo

yonga meat was used primarily for a food source. His fur used to make bookas or cloaks. The sinew was used to bind different materials together. The yonga is also totemic to certain indiviuals, families and areas. An example of an area is the town of ongerup, which translated means the place of the kangaroo.

kwelena – dolphin

Kwelena assisted Noongars in fishing by driving the djidjit into the fish traps within the rivers. Kwelena is also totemic to certain individuals or families.

Other animals of Noongar Country

nyingarn – echidna, nhumbat – numbat, gwaka – quokka, Djuditj – chuditj, Kooyar – frog, Djakal – ngakal – pink and grey galah, Yarkiny – western swamp tortoise, Djilba – bream, Marron – fresh water craysish, Dabitj – dugite, Koomal – possum, Karda – goanna/monitor, Dilert – blue tounge goanna, Minyit – meat ant, Baan baan – butterfly, Ngoolyarak – red tailed cockatoo,

Noongar Plants

Mungite,Piara,Pulgart,Pungura - Banksia

Banksias are an important flora to Aboriginal people and several Nyungar names for them are known. The Candle Banksia is known as the Piara, the Bull Banksia is known as the Mungite(or Poolgarla, Bulgalla), the Swamp Banksia is known as the Pungura(or Boongura, Gwangia), and the Parrot Bushis known as the Pulgart.Known uses by Noongar of the various Banksia flowers were the collection of honey-like nectar.Nyungar people drink the honey straight out of the flower cone, or soak the flower in water to produce a sweet drink[[1]]. It has also been recorded as a treatment of sore throats and colds. Piara and the Mungite are used by Nyungar people as torches. When alight, the dried banksia flower cone smoulders like a torch and was utlised to transport fire from one campsite to the next. They additionally used the lighted cones under their bookas or kanagaroo or possum skin cloaks to keep themselves warm in cold weather. The Pulgart has spiky leaves and branches and can be used as a broom. The Pulgart is also used in fishing by breaking off the branches, then walking in a line, driving the djildjit (fish), yakan (turtle) or koonak (freshwater prawns) into the fish traps. The wood of banksia trees are a good source of firewood. In particular the Firewood Banksia is known for its quick burning properties.

Coojong/Panjang/Wilyawa - Wattle

The Red-Eyed Wattle is known as the Wilyawa (or Wooly Wah), the Orange Wattle (or Black Wattle)is known as the Coojong (or Cujong, Kalyung, Kileyung, Kudjong), and the Panjang (or Pajang) is known commonly byits. Wattle seeds are a very good source of fats, protein and carbohydrates. The types of Wattle that the seeds can be collected and eaten are the Wilyawa and the Coojong. Coojong seeds can be eaten raw, and the Wilyawa seeds can be ground into a flour and baked into damper. The Wilyawa has green seed pods which have a variety of purposes. A pod can be crushed in the hands to release a sticky juice which, when a little water is added, can be used as sunscreen and an insect repellent. This cream is also used to treat eczema. When more water is added, the pods can be rubbed between the hands create a soap or cleanser. The Wilyawa can gum from the trunk is edible and can be chewed like chewing gum. Other wattle species also produce edible gums that can be sucked. These gums can act as a purgative and are used by Nyungar people to alleviate constipation. Wattle gum can also be soaked in water to create a glue. External food sources in the Wilyawa, like Bardi Grubs or Witchetty Grubs, are also eaten. Primarily found in rotting wattle trees, they are roasted over hot coals or in hot ashes before eating. Nyungar people use Acacia wood for making spear heads,kitjs (spears), wannas (digging sticks) and shields. Wattle tree-trunks are also used for constructing mia-mias (shelters), due to the light but sturdy make of the wood. The bark of the wattle tree is used to tie items together. To make thise form of rope,the bark was oiled with kangaroo fat or goanna oil to make it pliable.

Jarrah,Koodjat,Marri,Moitch,Tuart - Eucalypt

There are several types of the Eucalypt including Marri(or Red Gum), Tuart, Jarrah(or Swan River Mahogany), Koodjat (or Straggly Mallee) Moitch or Kulurda. Eucalypts are utilised for a variety of purposes. The wood of the Koodjat and the Jarrah is used to make important objects such as doarks(sticks for knocking the tops off Grass Trees [Xanthorrhoea preissii]), kitjs(spears), wannas(digging sticks), and in recent times, didgeridoos. Suitable branches from the Jarrah are also used to make spear throwers. Eucalyptus leaves produce eucalyptus oil, used by Nyungar people for medicinal purposes. Gum leaves are rubbed between the hands and inhaled to clear the nasal passages. The leaves of one species, the Moitch, are sometimes covered in small white spots of manna. (Manna is the product of a small mite that gathers on the base of the leaves). Nyungars lick the sugary manna directly off the leaves or gather the substance into a large, sweet lolly to suck on. Nyungar people use this gum for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. Gums from the Marri, Tuart and the Jarrah are used as a mild anaesthetic. Large pieces of gum have also been used as fillings for hollow teeth and to treat diarrhoea. Gums can also be ground into powder and used as an ointment on sores or infected areas, or mixed with water as a tonic for upset stomachs. Bark from the Marri, Tuart and Jarrah was used by Nyungar people as roofing for mia-mias(shelters). Jarrah bark has a waterproof property and therefore is the better bark to utlisie for Mia Mias. The Jarrah bark has a high tannin content and therefore used as a tanning agent and for making dye. In addition, the bark of this tree can be peeled off in one large, curved sheet. The blossoms of Eucalypts are used by Nyungar people as a source of honey, either by sucking directly from the flower, or by dipping the flower in water to create a sweet drink. Ngoowak (native bees) are drawn to eucalyptus blossoms, and Nyungars can often find honey in the hollows of eucalyptus branches. As well as bees, the tall eucalypts, including the Marri,Tuart and the Jarrah, attract birds which nest in the branch hollows in which Noongar people climb and catch the birds or to take the eggs to eat.

Balga - Grass Tree

In Western Australia, Grass Trees (or Blackboys) are known as Balga. Other recorded Nyungar names for this plant include, Baaluk, Balag, Balka, Barro, Kooryoop, Paaluc, Palga and Yarrlok. The long, thin fronds of the Balga, called mindarie, can be used to cover the roof of the mia-mia (shelter). During the rains, the water runs along the underside of the fronds, keeping the people inside dry. Additionally, Nyungars also used the Mindarie as soft bedding. Balgas resin located at the trunk can be used as a binding agent after being crushed in a heated stone pot with charcoal and kangaroo droppings. The resin produced by this process is used like a cement to bind objects together, such as stone spearheads onto wooden spear shafts. Balga resin can also be used as a tanning agent. Nyungars dissolve lumps of resin in water in a rock hole heated by hot stones. The hides of yonga (kangaroo) and koomal (possum) are scraped and softened and then placed in the rock hole to soak. The skins were then worn as bookha (clothes), wogga (blankets)

Kwowdjard - Bottlebrush

The Nyungar name for the One-Sided Bottlebrush is the Kwowdjard (or Queitjat). The blossoms of the bottlebrush are useful to Nyungar people as a source of honey. Nyungars suck the nectar straight from the flower blossoms or they soak the flowers in water to produce a sweet drink. From time to time, this drink is allowed to ferment to produce Gep, an intoxicating liquor.

Bayu, Djiridji - Zamia

Nyungar people called zamia Djiridji (or Dyergee, Girijee, Jeerajee). The bright, orange seeds of the Djiridjiwere called bayu (or booyoo, boya, byyu). The Djiridji produce large seed pods in which house the orange bayu which contains significant levels of toxins. considered a delicacy, bayua requires various preparatory processes before consuming. In south-western Australia the bayu are sometimes collected in a reed bag which is then soaked in running water for a period of time to leach out the toxins. The seeds are then buried underground, often for 6 months or more. After this time, Nyungar people peel the seeds and eat only the orange skin. Elsewhere in Australia, it is the seeds themselves that are eaten, and these are often crushed into a porridge-like meal and then formed into cakes and roasted in ashes. The Djiridji also produces a cotton-like substance around the base of the plant. This native cotton is very soft and absorbent and was used by traditional Nyungar women for feminine hygiene purposes. The native cotton can also be used in the coolamon (carrying vessel) as a soft lining for babies to sleep on as they are carried from place to place.The Djiridjis large palm-like leaves are used for shade and occasionally in the roofing of the mia-mia (shelter). The long zamia leaves can also be removed from their stem and used as a strong string to tie objects together.

Waakal Ngarnak - Rush, Sedge

Rushes or Sedge carris the Nyungar name of "Waakal Ngarnak", named after the Waakal(or Wagul, Wagyl, Waugal, Waagal), sometimes called the Rainbow Serpent. Stories from the Nyungar Dreaming tell of how pieces of the Waakal’s beard fell off as he twisted and wound his way through the country. Where his beard fell off, the rushes and sedges grew. Many rushes and sedges are therefore known as Waakal Ngarnak (Waakal Beard). Various species of rushes and sedges around Australia are utilised by Aboriginal people for their roots. The roots were prepared first by roasting and were then ground into thin, flat cakes. Numerous early colonial accounts also speak of another rush, known by the Nyungar name Yanchet(or Yange, Yanjet, Yandjet). The Yanchet was said to be eaten raw by Nyungar people in vast quantities. Many species of rushes and sedges are used by Nyungar people to locate water. Nyungars know that you can always find fresh water under species such as the Pithy Sword-Sedge, the Semaphore Sedge and the Knotted Club-Rush. The leaves of rushes and sedges are also used in weaving. The leaves are woven to create nets which are used as seines to catch djildjit(fish) and yakan (turtle). Rushes and sedges can also be woven to create baskets and mats and the leaves of many species are used as string. In addition, several species of rushes and sedges with cylindrical leaves, such as the Jointed Rush, are sometimes hollowed out. The resulting ‘pipe’ can be used as a snorkel when hunting yerderap(ducks) and other water fowl.

Kitja Boorn - SPEARWOOD

Nyungar people called the Native Teaplant Kitja Boorn(or Poorndil, Condil).

Spearwood plants are used by Nyungar people in spear-making. Spears produced from the Kitja Boorn can be used to hunt animals in small swamps and water holes. The Kitja Boorn was also used for making tea, hence the name Native Tea. The tea produced by this spearwood was considered not only pleasant, but was also used as a tonic.

Berrung, Pulgur - Hakea

Flowering shrubs, such as hakeas and grevilleas, are often called Berrung by Nyungar people. The Harsh Hakeais also known as the Pulgur(or Doolgur). Hakea flowers are an important source of honey for Nyungars. The nectar is either sucked directly from the flowers, or the blossoms are soaked in water to produce a sweet drink. Sometimes the drink is allowed to ferment to produce Gep, an intoxicating liquor. The spiky branches of the Pulgur are also used by Nyungars in fishing. The branches are broken and used to drive fish into traps. The wood from the branches of the Pulgur can also be used to make message-sticks. Hakea gum can be easily stored in cakes, and it is likely that it was transported by Nyungar people from place to place. In other parts of Australia, the burnt bark of the Hakea is used in bush medicine. The ash from the bark is rubbed onto the body to relieve skin sores.

Kurulbrang - KANGAROO PAW

Mangles Kangaroo Paw is known by Nyungar people as Kurulbrang(or Nollamara, Yonga Marra). Kangaroo paws have tuberous roots which contain significant levels of stored starch. In a similar way to orchids and some lily species, the roots of kangaroo paws are eaten by Nyungar people.

Noongar to English, English to Noongar Dictionary


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The Noongar to English, English to Noongar Dictionary was compiled by Rose Whitehurst for the Noongar Language and Cultural Center in 1997

Noongar Language revival projects

1. The Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project [3]

The Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project Incorporated Reference Group comprises family members who are descended from the South West of Western Australia and are interested in publishing and promoting some of the stories from that area.

wirlomin.png 2. Djiti Djitti Primary School


Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School was established in 1996 in order to better serve the needs of Noongar children in the South West city of Bunbury from two perspectives.

3. City of Fremantle Language Workshops


Fremantle (Walyalup) Aboriginal Cultural Centre [[6]] runs Nyoongar language courses.

Noongar Seasons

In the south west of Australia, the Nyoongar seasonal calendar includes six different seasons in a yearly cycle.

These are Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang. Each of the six seasons represents and explains the seasonal changes we see annually. The flowering of many different plants, the hibernation of reptiles and the moulting of swans are all helpful indicators that the seasons are changing.

The Nyoongar seasons can be long or short and are indicated by what is happening and changing around us rather than by dates on a calendar.

This six-season calendar is extremely important to Nyoongar people, as it is a guide to what nature is doing at every stage of the year, as well as understanding respect for the land in relation to plant and animal fertility cycles and land and animal preservation.[[7]]

Kinship System

Noongar people have a system of marriage or union that ensured our survival over thousands of years. Traditionally, we developed a rule-based system to avoid intermarriage between close relatives. Groups of families were categorised into separate moieties or kinship groups. Classification into these moieties is determined by descent from our mother (matrilineal) or from our father (patrilineal), depending on the country we came from. Noongar men would travel a long distance to find a wife from another group[[8]]. Amateur ethnographer, Daisy Bates describes matrilineal moieties she learned from Jubaitch, a Balluruk Noongar man who had great knowledge of Noongar lore and tradition[[9]]. The matrilineal kin groups are Manitjimat (white cockatoo) and Wardongmat (crow). ‘Mat‘ means ‘stock, family, leg’. Children inherit the moiety from their mother and must not marry a member of the same skin group. For instance, ‘a Crow man could only marry a Cockatoo woman and vice versa’. See table below.

File:Noongar kinship.png

Bates, D. The Native Tribes of Western Australia. Ed. Isobel White. Canberra NLA, 1985, p.76