The City of Cockburn has a rich history dating back 40,000 years, and its traditional owners are the Beeliar Nyungar people.
Beeliar Nyungar means "river people," and they are one of the clans of the Whadjuk, the Aboriginal people of the Perth metropolitan area.
Boodjar means "land" and provides life, a sense of identity, and belonging to the Beeliar Nyungar, whose spirit will always be linked to Cockburn land.
There are a number of alternative spellings in use for the word Nyungar – Noongar, Nyoongar, Nyoongah, Nyungah, Nyugah and Yunga. This is because Aboriginal languages are traditionally oral and not written, so linguists have interpreted the spelling in a range of ways.
The City acknowledges all alternative spellings of Nyungar, however in consultation with the City’s Aboriginal Reference Group and other organisations, the City agreed to use the spelling ‘Nyungar’.
Would you like to learn about the Nyungar language?
Here are a couple of great websites to help you learn Nyungar words and language:
The City of Cockburn offers many resources to learn about Aboriginal culture and history, including:
- Cockburn History website: Discover the Aboriginal Oral History Project, which records and summarizes the oral histories of eleven Indigenous people with custodial or cultural connections to the Cockburn district.
- Derbal Nara website: Learn about the rich history and cultural significance of Indigenous maritime heritage in Western Australia.
- Cockburn History website: Learn about Aboriginal and European Encounters, the Lewington Family and the Aboriginal Oral History Project.
- Storylines: Explore 125 years of Aboriginal history through the State Library of WA’s heritage collections. You can view photographs and learn more about Aboriginal people and places.
- Beeliar Boodjar (PDF below): Beeliar Boodjar is a publication that provides insights into the history, culture, and heritage of the Indigenous people of the Beeliar region, including traditional lifestyle, land use, significant sites, and the impact of European settlement. We advise that this document contains names of deceased Aboriginal people. Their relatives have been notified about this project. We do not wish to cause any distress to Aboriginal people who follow a specific cultural protocol regarding such names.