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The Mooro were a Nyungar Indigenous clan who lived in and to the north of Perth, Western Australia, until shortly after European settlement at the Swan River Colony in 1829. Their territory stretched from the Swan River north to the Moore River beyond the northern limits of metropolitan Perth and east to Ellen Brook.[1] Evidence of indigenous occupation of the Swan Coastal Plain extends back more than 40,000 years.[2]

The Mooro traversed the lakes and wetlands running parallel to the coast, including Yanchep, Lake Neerabup, Lake Joondalup, and as far south as Lake Monger (Galup). The region was a key food and water source, where wild fowl, fish, frogs, freshwater tortoises and a range of marsupials could be captured. The coastal region to the west yielded chert and limestone suitable for making stone tools. They moved with the seasons, seeking higher ground further east in winter, then returning in late spring and setting fire to the bushland to capture game such as wallabies, kangaroos and possums. Their main camp was at Mount Eliza in what is now Kings Park.

At the time of European settlement, Yellagonga, the uncle of Yagan, was the leader of the Mooro group. Initially, relations were friendly, and a number of explorers such as Robert Menli Lyon (1833–1834) and Sir George Grey (1838) reported on favourable encounters with groups of Mooro. John Butler, a Swan River settler who in March 1834 went north to search for cattle pasture, reported that "the natives were those Wanneroo men who frequent Perth in company with the Yellagonga tribe – they were friendly towards us but we were cautious in letting them see our bread".[3] However, competing demands for resources and cultural misunderstandings resulted in conflict.

By the late 1830s, having been largely removed or restricted from the lands on which they had been self-sufficient, and decimated by European diseases and conflict with settlers,[4] the traditional lifestyle had gone into demise. A census by Francis Armstrong (1836 C.S.O. 58:163) counted 28 Mooro. Within less than 20 years, the community had basically disintegrated, with the remaining people exiled to permanent waterholes on the outskirts of Perth.

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  1. ^ North Beach Historical Society (1980). Recollections from a shoreline. Artlook (The West Australian). pp. 61–63. 
  2. ^ Heritage Council of WA (June 1998). "Yaberoo Budjara Heritage Trail" (PDF). p. 3. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  3. ^ Daniel, Guy; Cockman, Margaret (Feb 1979). The Story of Wanneroo. West Australian Newspapers Ltd. p. 3. 
  4. ^ Brittain, Robert Keith (1990). Yellagonga Regional Park, City of Wanneroo : ethnography position paper for Department of Planning and Urban Development. Kidd and Povey.