8th Jul 2015

This week is National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week! 

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The theme for NAIDOC week 2015 is, 'We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate.' This theme aims to depict the spiritual and cultural connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ have to the land and the sea. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are bonded and intrinsically linked with Australia and its sacred places (think lakes or a beach). This theme allows all Australians to pay their respects to the country and to promote the need to preserve our natural environment. This week provides us with an opportunity to recognise the valuable contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our nation and our society.

The Town of Cottesloe recognises Indigenous culture and has listed three aboriginal sites. The first is Mudurup (or Moonderup) which is a ceremonial site located at Mudurup rocks. These rocks can be found south of the Cottesloe Surf Club. During mid to late summer  the Nyunger or Noongar people used to regularly visit Mudurup, which is now known as Cottesloe Beach. This ceremonial site is thought of as one of the most significant mythological coastal sites on the Swan Coastal Plain.

The site used to be a popular fishing spot and if you look at the limestone ledge, you may be able to make out that the site resembles a shark with its mouth open. Moonda or Moonder means Tiger Shark.

The limestone rock formation of Mudurup allows underground freshwater springs to flow into the sea. The Nyunger believe that the springs were created and are embodied by the mythological Waugal or Rainbow Serpent. This Rainbow Serpent (Waugal) is believed to embody all freshwater systems, including rivers, wetlands and lakes in and around the Swan Coastal Plain. The Waugal is also thought to be the protector of the environment. Nyunger believe that if a waterway is damaged or changed, then the Waugal is also harmed. Therefore, all freshwater systems need to be protected and conserved to care for the Waugal and keep the environment vigorous.

Victoria Street Station and Macarthur Street are the other two locations and have been listed due to recorded artefacts being discovered at these locations.

Cottesloe and Indigenous cultures are so strongly linked and therefore, it is only right that we recognise and help celebrate NAIDOC Week. .