People's Ocean Knowledge Trail

About Derbal Nara (Cockburn Sound)

The Nyungar Warden Katitjin Bidi - Derbal Nara, also known as the People’s Ocean Knowledge Trail, is an educational project about the Nyungar values of the Cockburn Sound. The Derbal Nara website, coordinated by Curtin University, contains information about the importance of the Cockburn Sound area, including heritage sites, maps, language terms, videos and brochures.

Derbal Nara is the Nyungar name for Cockburn Sound. The Derbal Nara website educates the community about the Nyungar knowledge and values of the Cockburn Coast (Wardan Gepa Boodjaralup). Derbal Nara is the Nyungar name for Cockburn Sound.

In Nyungar Nyitting (Dreaming), the Waakal (rainbow serpent) is the Creator. He gave us life and our trilogy of belief in the boodjar – the land – as our mother and nurturer of the Nyungar moort – family and relations – and our katitjin – knowledge so that we could weave that intricate tapestry known as the “web of life”.

Nyungar Boodjar (People’s country)

Derbal Nara means Estuary of the Salmon, which is the Nyungar name for Cockburn Sound. Wardan (sea) is of great spiritual significance to the coastal Nyungar, who use the resources of the coastal plain for food, shelter, ceremonies and trade.

Moort (Family and relations)

Moort means our family and relations. A kinship system defines how we relate to one another, who we marry and what our obligations are to one another. Traditionally, a Nyungar person or family identifies with one or more totem, the ancestral form of a specific plant or animal. It is our responsibility to care for our totem. This system helps create a sustainable balance between consumption and conservation for Derbal Nara.

Katitjin (Stories and knowledge)

Katitjin is people’s knowledge based on cosmological stories from the Nyitting (Dreaming). There are many significant stories about how Derbal Nara was created.

More information

The People’s Ocean Knowledge Trail of Cockburn Sound and Districts project contains a lot of information on the Cockburn Coast and its values according to Nyungar Culture. This includes heritage sites, a language glossary and educational resources such as videos and brochures. Visit Derbal Nara for more information.



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)

Language Support

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, present and emerging.