An interactive map acknowledging Noongar place names in the Perth central business district was recently launched by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt. The map brings renewed recognition to the traditional owners of the land and their ongoing connection to the region.
Gnarla Boodja Mili Mili (Our Country on Paper) is the cumulative work of research conducted by Aboriginal History, a division of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries that works in partnership with Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders to connect people to Aboriginal culture and history and promote reconciliation in the wider WA community. Thirty-one place names, with information about the significance of each, have been identified and included on the map. Early photographs and references are also included.
Amongst the sites captured are the Noongar names for popular landmarks such as Kings Park (Kata Moor) and Elizabeth Quay (Gumap), as well as sites that existed prior to European contact such as Goonininup, a permanent spring and camping ground that was located at the base of Mount Eliza.
Gnarla Boodja Mili Mili is the first map of its kind to comprehensively document the Aboriginal place names of a capital city's central business district in Australia. Its release coincides with the International Year of Indigenous Languages, declared by the United Nations General Assembly to encourage urgent action to preserve, revitalise and promote indigenous languages. It aims to begin to address the void in the identification, recording and writing of Australian Aboriginal histories and provides opportunities to preserve and reawaken the ancient story of our traditional owners through place naming. Additionally, it sets a standard to inspire local governments to embrace local language names in their work throughout Western Australia.
"All Australians share a special relationship to the land and the names we give to places convey their significance, sense of history and identity.” said Mr Wyatt. "Aboriginal people share a connection to country that goes back tens of thousands of years and is deeply rooted in traditions, lore and spirituality. The map acknowledges Noongar names that are rich with meaning and histories that predate European contact.”
The map is available to access online at dlgsc.wa.gov.au/department/publications/publication/gnarla-boodja-mili-mili-(our-country-on-paper)