Zamia Palm - Biayu
Zamia Palm

Biayu (zamia palm) fruit is similar to a pineapple and in the past wadjellas assumed they could eat the wida (nuts).

When they did, it had adverse effects because they did not leach the poison out.

By cracking the kernel and grinding it into paste, 2kg of food would be secured for making damper or porridge.

It could only be consumed after leaching it in water for up to a week. The wida was also used for stunning fish.

The palm fern was used for mia mias (shelters) and fish gathering and the fluff was used in firemaking and for hygienic purposes.

Zamia Palm
Nyungar Song & Dance

Soap making
Making soap from bush plants

This message is of the Kangaroo, Nyungars named Yonga. It is a very important part of the food chain. Yonga's were hunted for fresh meat and the skin was used fie making clothes (Bwoka). The sinew from the tail was used for a number of things including binding the wood points to the Mira (spear thrower), thread, when cooked the meat was divided, the best and tender cuts to the old people, tougher parts being given to the young men and children. The skin was tanned using grass tree resin soaked in hot water.

Workshops » Nyungar Know How
More Workshops

Parrot Bush - Pulgart
Parrot Bush - Dryandra

The pulgart (parrot bush), soap bush and peppermint tree were used daily by the Nyungar people after watching the birds.

If the Tjuntalup nyungar (28 parrot), ate the nectar from the flowers, then the Nyungars would know it was safe to eat these foods.

The wood from the pulgart is used for message sticks and the spiky leaves were helful in trapping fish.

The fine needles were useful for splinters and the seed casing would be burnt to ash then rubbed on skin that was cut with the needle from the spiky leaf for body scarring during initiation time.

Damper Making damper

Tree from which shelter has been made

Bark from this marri tree has been used to create a Mia Mia - or traditional bark shelter.

How to make a Semi-Round Mia
Using tea tree branches as the frame, bark is curved into semi circle and bound together with grass vine or kangaroo tail sinew.

Semi-Round Mia

The Nyungar Know How programmes are run in partnership with the WA Gould League and are a cultural experience in the customs and language of the Nyungar people of the Southwest of Western Australia.

The following two Nyungar Know How Programmes:

are learning experiences tailored for:
  • Teachers, as a Professional Development Programme
  • Adults (indigenous and non-indigenous) in the community
  • School students

Djinoong Nih Boordawan Wangkiny (Look, Listen, Talk)

This 2 day course is designed for both the Professional Development of Teachers of Aboriginal Studies/SOSE/The Arts/Special Ed/English and indigenous and non-indigenous members of the community.

At the completion of this course, participants will:

  • have a historical and cultural overview of the local Nyungar culture and language.
  • have developed fundamental Nyungar practical skills, including the making of Nyungar artefacts.
  • have developed a foundation and guide to learning the Nyungar language.
  • be able to link Nyungar past to the present through traditional storytelling.
  • receive a Nyungar resource tool-kit and Accredited Certificate, recognised by Murdoch University which may be used to articulate into Murdoch's Pre-Tertiary and Tertiary Courses.
Date: Flexible - arranged upon appointment.
Time: 9.00 am - 3.30 pm
Venue: Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre, Cnr Flynn and Selby St, Wembley.
Cost: We can cater for all your needs. Price on Application.

Minimum enrolments for each Nyungar Know How course = 15 participants.

To book on a Djinoong Nih Boordawan Wangkiny programme, please contact Yelakitj Moort or the WA Gould League.

Djinoong Nyungar Wirrin Boodja (Look at the Spirit of the Land)

This programme consists of a guided tour of significant Nyungar sites around the Perth Metropolitan region. Tailored for teachers and students of all ages, it immerses participants in a sensory experience of Nyungar land, and teaches appreciation of traditional Nyungar culture and practice and the importance and relevance of Nyungar culture today.

At the end of this learning experience students will:

  • have a basic historical and cultural overview of the local Nyungar culture and language.
  • have participated in fundamental Nyungar practices such as smoking ceremony and Nyungar Dance.
  • have visited local significant Nyungar sites in the Perth region and have an understanding of their cultural significance.
  • experience the link between Nyungar past to the present through traditional storytelling.

The Nyungar Know How workshops are run by:

  • Marie Taylor
    Associate Lecturer, Nyungar Cultural Studies at Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre, Murdoch University.
  • Neville Collard
    Descendant of the Balardong Nyungar people, traditional owners of the Herdsman Lake region.

Date: Flexible - arranged upon appointment.
Time: Full Day Tour 9.00 am - 3.30 pm
Venue: Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre, Cnr Flynn and Selby St, Wembley.
Cost: We can cater for all your needs. Price on Application.

To book on a Djinoong Nyungar Wirrin Boodja programme, please contact Yelakitj Moort or the WA Gould League.

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