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Nyungar BoodjarWhadjuk BoodjarWardan BoodjarA Changing CoastlinePlacenames & Features of Derbal Nara
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Placenames of Derbal Nara

The place names of Derbal Nara have meanings that are connected to cultural stories, cultural practices, animals, plants, relationships and the weather. Place names may not be fixed with singular meanings. Rather there may be multiple descriptions or phenomena and complex layers of meaning attached to the same place.

An 1833 issue of Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal shows how the colonial settlers realised that Nyungars had substantial biophysical knowledge and cultural appreciation of their own country:
The following distinctions in the description of the country, will show that these savages are not destitute of geological knowledge. It is highly probable that in their poetical compositions would be found allusions to the origin of the different divisions in the country here enumerated, and all lying to the Westward of the Blue mountains [i.e. Darling Ranges]; for a doubt can now be hardly entertained that the whole of Quartania is of recent formation.1

Click on the first sound file in the right hand column of the table hear all of the Nyungar words, one after the other.

Click on the picture or name for more information on each item.

Beeliar The suburb of Beeliar

beeliar beeliar (34 KB)

Booyeembara Booyeembara Park

booyeembara booyeembara (34 KB)

Coolbellup North Lake - the name Coolbellup now also refers to a whole suburb.

coolbellup coolbellup (34 KB)

Derbal Nara Cockburn Sound

derbal nara derbal nara (34 KB)

Gilgit Nyunakil Fishing Boat Harbour
Jilbup Thompsons Lake

jilbup jilbup (34 KB)

Kogolup Kogolup Lake

kogolup kogolup (34 KB)

Manjaree Bathers Beach

manjaree manjaree (34 KB)

Meeandip Garden Island

meeandip meeandip (34 KB)

Ngooloormíyup Carnac Island

ngooloormiyap ngooloormiyap (34 KB)

Toodjabubup Area around Banganup Lake

toodjabubup toodjabubup (63 KB)

Wadjemup Rottnest Island

wadjemup wadjemup (34 KB)

Walliabup Bibra Lake

walliabup walliabup (34 KB)

Walyalup Fremantle, including both sides of the river, North and South

walyalup walyalup (34 KB)

Yangebup Yangebup Lake

yangebup yangebup (34 KB)


1Lyon, R. M. ‘A Glance at the Manners, and Language of the Aboriginal Inhabitants of Western Australia; With a Short Vocabulary’, Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 20 April 1833, 63-64.