Did you know that Mirrabooka is the Aboriginal word for the Southern Cross constellation? There are many places across Western Australia whose names have Noongar origins – but what about the names of the place where METRONET’s stations will be built?
As part of METRONET’s Gnarla Biddi (Our Pathways) Strategy, we have embarked on a Noongar-led Place Names project to acknowledge the traditional and ongoing connection of Noongar people to Country; and celebrate and include Noongar language across our rail projects.
Currently 14 place names have been identified, with at least 14 more to go. As each place name and its meaning is understood, they will be considered for inclusion at stations in public art, architecture, landscaping, structural design, materials and finishes and interpretative signage.
So, what’s involved in identifying place names for each station?
We engaged Professor Len Collard and Moodjar Consultancy to work with our METRONET Noongar Reference Group (MNRG) in a series of workshops, ensuring a respectful and well-thought-out process.
The group looked at information, literature, published stories and content and used their own experience and knowledge of Noongar language and known place names to settle on a place name for each station location.
As Noongar place names are often a group of words or a sentence, Professor Collard worked with the group to break down each place name into its specific Noongar words and work out the meaning before agreeing on a linked story.
With these names now identified we are going out further to speak to other stakeholders to validate them. This ongoing conversation is our commitment to working with local Aboriginal groups.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Noongar is the official language of the Aboriginal people of the south-west of WA and means ‘a person of the south-west of Western Australia’
- There are 14 different dialects in the Noongar language
- Wadjemup (Rottnest Island), Boorloo (Perth), 'Kaarta Gar-up' or 'Mooro Kaarta' (Kings Park) are all Noongar names.