Wam Moort Yoorl Koorling Nidja Whadjuk Nyungar Boodjar - Different Families Staying in Whadjuk Country

'Searching searching' by Noel 'Kyar' Morrison

Nyungar have rights and responsibilities for other people coming onto our country. Visitors to Nyungar country should follow certain protocols and courtesies such as acknowledging the Traditional Owners in formal situations.

There have always been travellers and visitors to Nyungar Boodjar and many have ended up staying here.

Nyungar people are connected by marriage to others from many areas. Many ‘Norwesters’ were brought here as prisoners in the early days of colonisation and sent to Wadjemup. Others were brought here as members of the stolen generation.

Some ancestral spirits like Yondock the ancestral crocodile have travelled down from the North. Other visitors are the sea animals that travel along the coast, such as the whales and even the turtles. Some hitch a ride with the warm Leeuwin current that flows from the North.

click to play sound bidier

click to play sound boodjar

click to play sound maaman

click to play sound ngooloormiyap

click to play sound nyungar

click to play sound wadjemup

click to play sound whadjuk

click to play sound yondock

Click the sound files to hear the Nyungar words on this page.

Trevor Walley – Travellers

Bidier Maaman Traditional owner Trevor Walley shares his childhood memories of the travellers.

… we also had tribal people travelling, and the tribal people would try and grab you and they used to send the bobtails to get me out, they wanted to get me outside to get me to go on the journey with them. So when I was small they would send bobtails and get it to grab my toe so I would run outside, dehydrated, and get water. And so the travellers would try and grab you and take you with on their journey. But the uncles knew what was happening before and they would stop the tribal people, the travellers. And they would sing their songs too, because they’re going and travelling around. So the travelling spirits are very strong, they’re still travelling…

Trevor Walley - Yondock the ancestral crocodile

And this yondock comes down and he’s aiming for this fish here, this Point Peron here is called moorli borlup, the yellow-finned whiting fish. He’s coming down and by pushing his way in, Wadjemup was created just because of his actions. Then he started to push his way in, I’m not quite sure which came first, but he’s pushed his way in. Ngooloormayup came, which is Carnac Island, our little ngool (brother) …Carnac Island is a Ngooloormayup, little ngool to us. But Wadjemup came first. … So the yondock, the crocodile went into a cave and thought about it, and he came out as an emu, so he was able to go back to Broom as an emu. …I think Price Point is the emu dreaming that went back, and you can see the emu in the footprints. So my culture is connecting us to Price Point with the emu dreaming, that’s how the emu got back, and that’s where the emu came from, from Swan River. So the emu man, up in Price Point, comes from Perth, Swan River, that connects us

Noel and Glenda Morrison - Turtle painting and yarn

The painting above is by Mr Noel Morrison. His Nyungar name is Kyar. 

The painting is about a man's children who went out fishing and their father thought they would be alright. But then it started to get late and he started to worry. So he jumped in a canoe and went to look for them but he never found them. He looked everywhere till it got really dark. He dived into the water and looked for them under the water. As he swam under the water he stopped breathing from the worry, and finally turned into a turtle and even today he is still looking for them.

Mr Morrison’s second wife is Mrs Glenda Morrison nee Cooyou, a Yamatji woman from Carnarvon. Her grandfather’s name was Gwooninwardu which is also the Yamatji name for Carnarvon. In their country they catch and eat turtles which they call Majgin. Her father would swim out to get the turtles. The family always looked forward to that big feast. The first time Glenda came to Noel’s house, she saw this painting and said to Noel, 'This is mine'! She occasionally sees turtles in the Fremantle and Cockburn Sound area when she is fishing.

‘One day I decided to go fishing. I was catching strange fish and I didn't like the look of them. I could smell the breeze which I love, but I couldn't catch any fish that I wanted so I said to myself 'I'm going home now'. As soon as I said that, a turtle showed himself.  He was about half a metre long. I said to myself, 'This might be a message back from the old people - I think it is my old father showing himself. He has followed me down here from our own country near Carnarvon'. When I see the turtle he makes me think of my father's family. 

Mrs Morrison has taken local ladies from the Ottey Neighbourhood Centre in the City of Cockburn up to Carnarvon to show them her country. So visitors go both ways between the northwest and Nyungar country.