Aboriginal Culture

words by Koomal Dreaming  |   photography by Elements Margaret River

The Wadandi Noongar people are the traditional owners of this part of south west Western Australia.

The Wadandi people are forest & saltwater people and they live by the six seasonal change in harmony with their environment. Evidence of their occupation in this area dates back over 50,000 years. These significant coastal areas are important to the local Wadandi people and their connection to land and sea through songs, stories, spirituality and Dreaming.

Take a guided cultural tour and learn about the Wadandi people’s fascinating culture and incredible knowledge of their environment – taste native foods, discover bush medicine and meet the animals, plants and Dreaming spirits that have enriched the lives of the Wadandi people since time began.

Koomal Dreaming

Based in Dunsborough, Koomal Dreaming is your opportunity to experience Wadandi and Bibbulman country through their eyes. You’ll taste native foods, learn about bush medicine, and meet the animals, plants and Dreaming spirits that have enriched the lives of Wadandi and Bibbulman people since time began. Come on a tour with Koomal Dreaming and see life as it has always been.

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Cape Cultural Tours

Based at Cape Naturaliste, Cape Cultural Tours is the sister company of multi award-winning Koomal Dreaming. Cape Cultural Tours create a deep connection and lasting memories through Aboriginal interpretive experiences along the spectacular capes and coastlines of the Margaret River Region. Enter the Boodja (country) of the Wadandi people through their eyes and learn about the Noongar seasons and the encircling connections with the rivers, the seas, the animals, fish and plants. Move along the breathtaking Cape to Cape track gathering a deeper appreciation of the ecology, how it relates to the surrounding oceans and headlands, and why the past is ever present to the land’s traditional custodians.

KAYA CAPE EXPERIENCE & CAPE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE 

Learn about the deep connection the Wadandi people have to the Cape to Cape region. The Kaya tour is wheelchair accessible and begins with a ‘Welcome to Country’, followed by a guided walk aruond Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, surrounded on three sides by oceans. Next, gather at a private Meeting Placec for an interactive experience involving an artefact interpretation and a didgeridoo music session.

The Cape Cultural Experience is similar to the Kaya Cape Experience but includes an easy 2.5 kilometre walk around the tip of Cape Naturaliste, interpreting flora and fauna of the seasonal landscape through the eyes of an indigenous custodian.

PRIVATE TOURS

Cape Cultural Tours can work with you to create customised tours that showcase the beauty and natural bounty of the south west. They offer unique cultural insight to the region and its trational people. From ‘catch and cook’ fishing tours and coastal foraging, to bushfood inspired dining events. They are sure to create a memorable experience for you that is truly unique to the region.

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‘Caring for Country’ is crucial in the diverse and delicate environment of our region. Please tread lightly, be aware of your surroundings and treat the natural environment with respect, so that it can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come!

Wadandi Noongar Six Seasonal Rotation

The Noongar people of the South West region in Western Australia live by the six seasonal rotation. They move within their traditional boundary lines every two months, while living in harmony with the environment. During the colder months they move to inland lakes, river systems and waterholes. When the season changes to warmer months they move back along sheltered bays, estuaries and coastal camping areas. By hunting certain animals at the right time of year and using traditional fire and farming techniques they are able to ensure their food sources will not deplete.

Understanding the interconnectedness between plants, animals, weather movements and spiritual beings allows Noongar people to have a strong connection to country, sense of belonging to the land and identity.

(Image: Koomal Dreaming by Elements Margaret River)

The Story of Ngilgi

Ngilgi Cave is associated with a rich Aboriginal dreamtime story describing a battle between a good and an evil spirit. The local Wadandi people tell the story:

A long time ago the entrance to the big cave at Yallingup was near the ocean, Food was plenty and the Aboriginal people use to collect their water from the entrance to the cave. Then an evil spirit called Wolgine began lurking in the cave. Wolgine caused the water hole to dry up, food to be scarce and drew unwary people into the great hole of darkness.

Ngilgi was a good spirit who lived in the ocean and always kept a watchful eye on the tribes of Aboriginal people in the area. Ngilgi, decided to do something about Wolgine and spoke with other good spirits of the ocean. Together they planned to rid the district of the evil spirit Wolgine.

The spirits of the waves, the wind, the rain, thunder and lightning joined together and made the most terrifying storm. Wind pushed huge waves along and the sea rose up and up into the entrance of the cave. A fierce battle followed – Wolgine was driven further and further into the cave with the sea following him. Finally, when he knew he was beaten he begged for mercy. The spirits, being good and kind, agreed and stopped the storm. Ngilgi told Wolgine he could go providing he never came back to the area again. So Wolgine burst out of the cave (creating the entrance as we know it today) and ran away as fast as he could – never to be seen again.

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