Aboriginal Culture

The City of Busselton sits on Bibbulmun country that is called Wadandi Boodja. Aboriginal dancers

The Wadandi Bibbulmun people are the Traditional Custodians, and have lived and breathed off this ancient land for over 40,000 years. It was and continues to be a place of plenty. The Aboriginal name for Busselton is Undalup after the warrior and leader Undal.

The Wadandi people – the salt water people, are closely linked to the ocean. They have been hunting and gathering bush foods between the coastal strip, waterways and forests for thousands of years. It is an important part of their culture as stewards of country and they have strong spiritual bonds with it.

Reconciliation Action Plan

The City is committed to building respect and forging strong relationships with the Aboriginal community. The desired outcome is to encourage greater reconciliation and equality between all our community members.
The City began its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) journey in 2015. After many discussions with individuals, groups and organisations, a framework began to take shape.

In 2020, Reconciliation Australia endorsed the City’s first Reflect level RAP. The actions included in the RAP are from those many conversations and are the aspirations that have been identified by the Aboriginal community as well as City staff. This is a living document that provides a framework for the City to work with and build upon.
Some of the projects that we work with the Aboriginal community on include heritage surveys before disturbing country, land restoration activities such as tree plantings, and NAIDOC events and cultural awareness projects.

Aboriginal community members have been involved with or led projects such as:

  • Gaywal – as part of the Settlement Art Project
  • Merenj Boodja Bush Food Garden
  • Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre
  • Revegetation plantings along the Vasse River
  • NAIDOC Week projects often led by Aboriginal workplace trainees
  • Revamp of Walgin Garden
  • NAIDOC Ball

During NAIDOC WEEK and National Reconciliation Week we work with local Aboriginal community members and organisations to bring people together in celebration and learning. We look forward to continuing to build on these.

Language

Many of the regions locations are still named in language. For instance, Yallingup is place of holes; Quindalup is place of the quenda (bandicoot); Wonnerup is place of the women’s digging stick and Meelup is place of eyes. We mention this because sometimes the spelling of words is different.

There are many language groups and dialects on Nyungar country. Within the Bibbulmun Nation Wadandi is spoken. This is different from the Whadjuk language around the Perth area though both are within Nyungar country. As the language was spoken and not written, over time there have been alternative spellings. There are also many ways to pronounce Nyungar which is why the spelling is varied. For example Noongar which is the most common, Nyoongar, Noonga, Nyugah, Nyungah, Yungar, and Nyoongah.

Reconciliation Action Plan

Other resources:

South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council 
Undalup Association 
South West Aboriginal Medical Service 
Noongar Boodjar Language Cultural Aboriginal Corporation
Kaartdijijn Noongar Knowledge 
Boodjar: Nyungar Place Names in the South-West of Western Australia

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