Noongar Story Project
The purpose of the Great Southern Noongar Story Project is to support Aboriginal people in retaining and strengthening connection to country, identity and culture.
The Project captures stories and knowledge of local Noongar Elders from the Great Southern region to protect, preserve and share.
The outcomes of this Project align to the identified outcomes of the grant sought through Lotterywest. This includes:
Community is connected through local initiatives that strengthen wellbeing, promote participation and/or volunteering, and encourage re-connection after a period of distancing and isolation;
Marginalised, minority and disadvantaged groups at risk of experiencing prolonged impacts of social isolation and discrimination are actively included in community;
Aboriginal people retain and strengthen connection to country, identity and culture.
The deliverables aligned to this Project include:
Documentaries and short stories filmed throughout the Great Southern region that can be shared through multiple audio-visual formats;
Written biographies captured of each participating Elder;
Written documentation relating to the project background, purpose and exposure;
Still photography captured during the filming of the stories and cultural knowledge sharing;
Web page development to access project information;
Project Promotions Plan;
Archiving filmed content (edited and un-edited footage); and
Launch of edited documentaries and short stories.
Filming on Location
The regional filming tour for the Great Southern Noongar Story Project occurred from 23 April 2023 to 29 April 2023 capturing local Noongar Elders stories and cultural knowledge.
Each Noongar Elder had their own approach to delivering their story and their knowledge, which was self-determined. The film production crew considered the cultural business approach to speaking with Elders.
Albany and its surrounds is home to the Menang Noongar people, the area was historically called Kinjarling by traditional custodians, which means "the place of rain". The city of Albany is located in the Great Southern region, approximately 420 kilometres south of Perth.
Borden and Gnowangerup
Borden is located 400 kilometres south-east of Perth, it lies 120 kilometres north of Albany on a road which passes through the Stirling Range National Park. The Borden Aboriginal Reserve is located on the edge of the townsite.
The name Gnowangerup is derived from the Noongar word ‘Ngow,’ meaning Malleefowl. For thousands of years, the plains around Gnowangerup were home to the Goreng Noongars. Gnowangerup is located in the Great Southern region, approximately 350 kilometres south-east of Perth.
The Gnowangerup Aboriginal Reserve was located on the edge of the townsite and the Gnowangerup Mission was located 2.4 kilometres from town. Established in 1935 around Muir Hill, the Gnowangerup Mission existed on 61 hectares of land.
The Stirling Ranges is located within the Shire of Gnowangerup. Many creation stories reflect the Stirling Range, particularly Bluff Knoll. The Noongar people of the area referred to Bluff Knoll as Bular Mial (many eyes).
Kojonup is located in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia, 259kms south-east of Perth. It is situated on the Albany Highway, the main route from Perth to the major regional coastal city of Albany, (155kms south).
Kojonup is named after the ‘kodj’, which is the traditional Noongar name for the stone axe implement made and used by the traditional custodians in the area. Kojonup has a fresh-water spring located on the edge of the town, which holds historical significance to past generations of traditional custodians as well as to the European settlement of the area.
Marribank was where Aboriginal children were taken after being forcibly removed from their families and homes. These children are known as the Stolen Generations. The profoundly damaging impacts of the Stolen Generations on Indigenous people and their culture has resulted in the emergence of intergenerational trauma.
Located between Kojonup and Katanning within the Great Southern Region of Western Australia, the mission has had several names over the years. The place, now known as Marribank Mission, was originally named the Carrolup Native Settlement and was established in 1915. It became Marribank Mission in 1952 when the Baptist Union commenced operations.
“Carrolup Native Settlement was one of several settlements aimed at providing an integrated scheme for housing, education and employment for Aboriginal people; and in addition, from 1950 when the place became a mission for Aboriginal children under the Baptist Aboriginal Mission of Western Australia, controlling belief systems by Christianising them” (Heritage Council of WA, 2017).
Marribank includes a “number of relatively substantial buildings constructed from local materials by the Aboriginal residents of the settlement between 1918 and 1921, a considerable technical achievement in an isolated location in the south west of the state” (Heritage Council of WA, 2017). Additional buildings were erected throughout the history of the settlement, and later as a mission.
Mt Barker and Porongurup
It is believed that the name ‘Porongurup’ is derived from the Aboriginal name Purringorep. Porongurup National Park is located in the Great Southern region, approximately 40 kilometres north of Albany. The Range is twelve kilometres long and 670 metres at its highest point.
Located at the base of the Porongurup range is the Bolganup Homestead. It is on this site that Traditional Owners, Shirley Williams and Bobby Colbung, were camped as children and spent their early childhood exploring.
Mount Barker is located in the Great Southern region, 360 kilometres south of Perth, within the Shire of Plantagenet. Mount Barker is situated on Menang Noongar country and is located between the Stirling Ranges to the north and Porongurup Ranges to the south.
The Mount Barker Aboriginal Reserve is located on the edge of the Mount Barker townsite. Buildings that once existed on this Reserve have since been removed or demolished, leaving some remnants of concrete floorprints that have been overgrown with vegetation that has encroached on the site.