Leg­endary jour­neys

STO­RIES OF OUR RIVERS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - STREET WATCH -

ABO­RIG­I­NAL cul­ture is char­ac­terised by a strong spir­i­tual con­nec­tion to coun­try, as ev­i­denced by the Noon­gar leg­end sur­round­ing the cre­ation of the Point Wal­ter sand­bar.

Whad­juk El­der Marie Tay­lor said the sand­bar was known as Dy­oon­dalup, or “place of long flow­ing white hair”.

“Whad­juk peo­ple be­lieve that there is a lady who lives in the Milky Way and used to come down to Point Wal­ter to steal chil­dren,” Ms Tay­lor said.

“One day, the lit­tle kids that she had stolen were pulling so hard on her hair it dropped down out of the Milky Way to Point Wal­ter and formed the sand­bar.”

A wealth of sim­i­lar cul­tural and nat­u­ral his­tory is now avail­able along the City of Melville’s wa­ter­ways fol­low­ing the open­ing of three new in­ter­pre­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties, col­lec­tively known as River Jour­neys, last week.

The sites at Point Wal­ter, Bic­ton Baths and Heathcote in­clude wooden deck­ing and signs high­light­ing the sig­nif­i­cant cul­tural her­itage and nat­u­ral val­ues of the ar­eas.

Two new vir­tual trail guides have also been launched, en­abling smart­phone users to en­joy guided au­dio tours along the Swan River from Fre­man­tle Traf­fic Bridge to Can­ning Bridge, and also through Black­wall Reach Re­serve.

Ms Tay­lor was one of four Whad­juk El­ders who worked with the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife to de­velop both the in­ter­pre­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties and the au­dio tours.

She said the wa­ter­ways of the Swan and Can­ning rivers were spe­cial places for all Noon­gar peo­ple and she was happy their his­tory was now avail­able to all vis­i­tors.

Melville Mayor Rus­sell Aubrey said he hoped River Jour­neys would help build re­spect and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the land.

The three in­ter­pre­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties and au­dio guide were funded by the State Govern­ment and cost a com­bined $270,000.

A fourth fa­cil­ity is sched­uled to open on the Brent­wood fore­shore in June.

They are the first in a net­work of fa­cil­i­ties the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife hopes will one day line a 175km walk­a­ble trail around Perth’s wa­ter­ways.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Al­bert Ja­cob said the fa­cil­i­ties would bring the rich his­tory of the Swan and Can­ning rivers to life and re­flect their so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal sig­nif­i­cance.

“With River Jour­neys, any­one com­ing down to the river can en­joy the Melville fore­shore’s past and present in a con­tem­po­rary way,” he said.

“As well as en­joy­ing the mag­nif­i­cent view, vis­i­tors will gain an un­der­stand­ing of the Abo­rig­i­nal his­tory of the area and other his­tor­i­cal events.”

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