Immerse Yourself In South Western Australia’s First Nations History With These Four Aboriginal Experiences
We can (and often do) wax lyrical for hours and hours about how special we think our south west is – from the world-class beaches to the spectacular forests and charming towns. But sometimes, you’ve just gotta connect to something deeper. Now more than ever, we’re appreciating the importance of engaging with WA’s Indigenous history and peoples – whether that’s the rich Noongar culture and connection to country, or the painful truths of European settlement.
Here are four immersive experiences for you to connect with Noongar culture and community during the south west’s Makuru and Djilba (winter) seasons:
Menang Boodja, with its wild ocean and vast boulders, is home to some of our most impressive and dramatic vistas – and there’s no better way to take in the spectacular surrounds than on a guided walking tour with Kurrah Mia. Tours range from 90 minutes to six hours, with varying levels of fitness catered to. Through the walks, you’ll connect with Menang culture and heritage, and learn about life in Kinjarling pre-colonisation. If you’re not up for a walk, Kurrah Mia’s art and craft store is well worth a visit, with handcrafted wares by talented Indigenous artists – plus a range of books that include dual-language stories for little ones, plus bush food and medicine books.
More info and booking details: Kurrah Mia WEBSITE
Ngalang Wongi owner Troy Bennell (pictured below and in the header) has travelled the world as an ambassador for Australian tourism, so if anyone knows how to get people excited about learning and culture, it’s him. Guiding walking tours throughout the Goomburrup area, his engaging storytelling will take you on a journey of discovery – whether it’s through the township itself and its cultural sites and history, or the hugely spiritually significant river and estuary. Stories of the Dreaming are interwoven with early settler history, plus you’ll get to learn hands-on about traditional bushcraft and tucker.
More info and booking details: Ngalang Wongi WEBSITE
The Kodja Place
The Kodja Place is a testament to the power of community. A cooperative effort between Noongar and Wadjela communities to tell their stories side-by-side, the centre features four different areas to immerse yourself and your family in the culture of Kojonup. The Storyplace brings together real characters and history of the area, with interactive displays to get kids excited and involved. Through the Kodja Gallery, you can learn about the Noongar connection to land, and explore its differences from modern farming practices. If you’re there towards the end of kambarang in November, the Australian Rose Maze will be in full bloom with over 100 Australian rose varieties and 11 mosaics. Here you can also explore the maze’s rose growing heritage, with the poignant stories of three women – Yoondi the Noongar, Elizabeth the English and Maria the Italian – who are set into the paths of the maze.
More info and booking details: The Kodja Place WEBSITE
Roelands Village has entered a new chapter. Used as a mission between the 1940s and 70s to house hundreds of children removed from their families across WA, the Village is now administered by former residents. Embarking on a healing journey, Woolkabunning Kiaka Aboriginal Corporation have breathed new life into the heritage site as accommodation, a function venue and bush tucker farm, with visitors now able to stay at the Village, and learn about the history of the Mission and its residents, as well as the Indigenous cultural heritage of the area. Plus, the Village also provides opportunities for the local community in education, hospitality, health services, employment and housing.
More info and booking details: Roelands Village WEBSITE
For more information regarding Aboriginal culture in the south west and other tour operators, head to the Australia’s South West WEBSITE.