Aboriginal Language, Culture and History

About Beeliar Nyungar and Boodjar

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.

Nyungar spelling

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’.

Nyungar language

Would you like to learn about the Nyungar language? 

Here are a couple of great websites to help you learn Nyungar words and language:

Cultural and historical resources

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.
Document name Downloadable files
Beeliar BoodjarPDF document

Cultural and historical trails

Experience the rich history and culture of the Beeliar Nyungar people while enjoying stunning views and interactive displays by visiting the Aboriginal historical sites and trails in Cockburn, Western Australia.

  • People’s Ocean Knowledge Trail: A coastal walking trail that educates visitors on the marine environment and the cultural significance of the area to the local Aboriginal people. The trail offers stunning views of the ocean, informative signage, and interactive displays, making it an enjoyable and educational experience for all ages.
  • Nyungar Tourist Trail at Port Coogee: A tourist trail that offers a culturally enriching experience featuring interpretive signs and artwork that showcase local Indigenous history and stories.

More information and contact

We encourage you to share any valuable Aboriginal cultural and historical resources you come across.  Please don't hesitate to contact the City's Aboriginal Community Development Officer on (08) 9411 3444 or email [email protected] with your suggestions.

Together, we can continue to build a more inclusive, knowledgeable, and connected community.

Related Pages



City of Cockburn
Whadjuk Boodja
9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

Office opening hours:
8.30am to 4.30pm
Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.