Noongar dual name project commences

By Charlotte Wooldridge | posted on July 9, 2020

THE City of Albany has partnered with local Indigenous organisations to identify key places which will be dual named with a traditional Noongar name.

The Restoring Menang Noongar Boodja Place Names project aims to explore traditional Noongar names for places and geographic areas within Albany.

Local Aboriginal enterprise Kurrah Mia has been asked to undertake consultation with the Noongar community and research historical records, with Menang man Larry Blight saying it was a great opportunity for the local community.

“It’s something that we’re very proud of, and it is something that has been a long time coming,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of areas that already have Noongar and Menang names and people probably wouldn’t even be aware of it.

“But I think this is an amazing initiative with the City of Albany and the State Government.”

Mr Blight said it wasn’t just about adding a name, but also about encouraging curiosity and the sharing of knowledge about Menang and Noongar history.

“There’s all these other things that this will unlock, and some of this culture and history goes back at least 10,000 years ago and sometimes even older,” he said.

“For example, Middleton Beach has been known as Binalup, it means safe place and place of first light and it’s just a beautiful name for that place.”

Mayor of Albany Dennis Wellington said the dual naming project was a great initiative for Western Australia’s oldest European settlement.

“Having the traditional Noongar name side by side with the European place name sends a wonderful public statement of reconciliation as we continue to recognise the ongoing, strong and cultural connection Menang Noongar people have with Noongar country,” he said.

“This project will allow the City to explore and revive Menang Noongar place names in consultation with Elders to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of Noongar language and culture.”

Mr Blight said the project is currently considering several locations around Albany, with the potential for many more in the future.

“There’s about five or six names that they’re looking at right now and there are going to be other ones that will follow, and as Dennis Wellington said this is just the beginning, this is a long-term project,” he said.

“I just think it’s a little bit romantic in a sense to have these beautiful ancient names.”