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The latest unsigned changes[edit]

There have been three changes made by an unsigned member that are contentious POV statements that have no source cited. These are all against Wikipedia policy. Unless in the next 24 hours the person who made these changes can reference them, I will be editing it back to the previous statement. John D. Croft 02:43, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

"Tribal lands"[edit]

It states that the Noongar "tribal lands". This is in error as the Noongar did not live in tribes. I have amended it appropriately John D. Croft 09:37, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

What has already been assimilated?[edit]

It would probably be pertinent to delete from this draft the information that has already been put into the main article. Benn M. 15:48, 2005 May 4 (UTC)


SeanMack 14:24, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Significant edit[edit]

If anyone's wondering, I have removed the reference to Sally Morgan's famous book because, while she grew up in Perth, she is not Noongar; her family were from much further north, near Marble Bar. Chrisell 17:05, 12 August 2005 (UTC)


Surely there's a book?User:SatuSuro 12:02, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes, the (now deceased) missionary linguist Wilf Douglas wrote a book on Nyungar. I'll put in a reference to it sometime. Dougg 02:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Neo-Nyungar confusion[edit]

The article is incorrect where it states that 'some linguists regard modern Noongar as a dialect of English'. It is clear that 'modern Noongar' has been to a fair extent re-modelled along the lines of English, but it is certainly not a dialect of English and I know of no linguists who have claimed that it is. Unless anyone disagrees, I'll take that comment out sometime. Dougg 10:40, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Ok, I've had a chance to check this properly and it is as I thought. The late Wilf Douglas coined the term 'neo-nyungar' to refer to the particular Aboriginal English used by Nyungar people, which includes elements of Nyungar. He did however distinguish between 'Neo-Nyungar' and 'Nyungar'. Ethnologue seems to have incorrectly equated 'neo-nyungar' with 'Nyungar', showing them as equivalents on the pages at English and Nyunga. Dougg 02:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Can you please cite your references. In which paper did this chap "coin the term", and which writings have people misunderstood? and who is Wilf Douglas anyway? If he is notable, then perhaps he ought to have a page of his own. jmd 06:28, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
When I wrote that I put a reference to the book by Wilf Douglas (in which he first uses the term 'neo-Nyungar') in the 'References' section of the article. Do you think there should be an inline citation as well? Good point about a page for Wilf Douglas, I'll start one asap. Dougg 11:36, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Wilfrid Douglas[edit]

Ok, I've put up a page on Wilfrid Douglas. As you'll see he did some significant work on Noongar. Probably the second 'modern' (-ish) linguist to work on the language after Gerhardt Laves (oops, there's another page to create!) Feel free to expand, improve, etc.. Dougg 06:27, 22 December 2005 (UTC)


The Noongar considered themselves civilised, especially in comparison with the 'invading' British. Reflecting this attitude, they called the newcomers 'Djanga' (or 'djanak'), meaning 'white devils'. [4]

Every reference I've seen on this topic stated that the Noongars believed that the white people were the returning spirits of the Noongar dead. Hence 'Djanga': "spirits of the dead". This notion that the Noongars thought the Europeans uncivilised is news to me. Considering the reference is to a blog, I'm inclined to remove it and insert the "accepted" version. Any comments? User:Hesperian 00:40, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

That para is POV and I agree it could be toned down to what you suggest -- —Moondyne 02:10, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

I have seen 5 reasons why Aboriginal people referred to Europeans as Djanga.

  1. They came from the direction of Kuranup - the direction of the setting sun, where the land of the dead was located.
  2. Early settlers clothing left much to be desired, the Europeans were found to "stink like the dead" to the Noongar
  3. Europeans were pale, like the dead.
  4. Europeans could not remember their connection to Aboriginal kinship systems, as death was supposed to erase the memory of culture.
  5. Association with Europeans often resulted in Noongars catching a European disease and dying from illnesses for which they had no resistance.

I cannot remember the reference but suspect it was something kept at the Koolbardi Centre at Murdoch. John D. Croft (talk) 10:57, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

'Standard' spelling of Nyungar/Noongar/...[edit]


I saw that you've changed all the spellings of 'Nyungar' to 'Noongar in the article of that name'. I'm just wondering what your basis is for saying that's the 'standard' spelling. Dougg 09:45, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Oops, I meant to mention that while you've changed all the spellings 'Nyoongar', you've missed several instances of 'Nyungar'. cheers, Dougg 09:52, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Dougg, I have no basis for saying any spelling is "standard" - and don't believe there is a standard. The first sentence in the article itself states that "Noongar" is the preferred spelling in the south of the state. I was just trying to be consistent - and failing at that I see :) - at the time I had the =Culture= section open for editing to sort out a similar issue related to the spelling of "Wagyl".
In hindsight I should have returned to finish the job - which I'll do now. Notwithstanding my omissions, the Noongar article is spelt as such and "Nyoongar" and "Nyungar" both redirects, so it seems reasonable to be consistent throughout. Special:Whatlinkshere/Noongar indicates that "Noongar" is the most common useage in Wikipedia. -- —Moondyne 13:09, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
FWIW, Len Collard [1] states ... There are even variations in the spelling of the word which include Nyungar, Noongar, Nyoongar or Noongah. This variation reflects both regional dialect differences as well as an attempt by regional groups to retain in a modern Australian society a sense of independence and difference within. Regards -- —Moondyne 13:21, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for that, I thought you were suggesting that 'Noongar' is the standard. You're correct that there is no one standard, athough I personally would prefer to see 'Nyungar' used in the article as it better reflects the speech of the best living speakers such as Len's father, Fred Collard (actually, 'Nhunga' would be a closer approximation to the speech of speakers from a couple of generations ago, but I don't think anyone would like it these days). The main dialect difference was between 'nyunga' and 'nyungara', but I don't think anyone says the latter anymore. Anyway as you say, it's good to be consistent. I might just add something to the language section discussing the various spellings of the word. cheers, Dougg 02:08, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Dougg, I do agree that "Nyungar" is the more common spelling outside Wikipedia, and personally would prefer it changed throughout to that. I've moved our discussion here (from my talk page) to hear what others think. Whatever we decide, we should aim to be consistent throughout the wiki. -- —Moondyne 00:46, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

That's fine. I didn't make myself totally clear in my last comment, but I'm happy for the article to retain the spelling 'Noongar' if that's what is felt to be best. I certainly agree that it's important to be consistent. Dougg 02:03, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree with you guys. "Nyungar" would be much better. I'm not sure how accurate the statement "In the south the spelling Noongar is preferred, reflecting a broader accent" is. The citation for the alternative spellings incorrectly links to a biography of Tindale, so that's no help. I'll ask User:SeanMack if he can remember where he got his information from, and whether he would object to a page move. User:Hesperian 02:57, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
After Sean responded on my talk page, I had another look into it, and I have changed my mind. Here's a quote from this webpage
The orthography of the word noongar reflects some of this variation, as well as the history of rendering an oral language into a written one by wadjelas. Writers who have close connections with the Brookton area (Davis, Mudrooroo, Eddie Bennell), or who acknowledge Davis as a mentor, use the "Nyoongah" transcription, although Eddie Bennell used the ar ending. Wadjela historians (Tilbrook, Haebich) and linguists (Dench) use the phonetic "Nyungar." This orthography was used initially by the Noongar language and culture centre, and used by Collard in her transcription, Kura, and by Glenyse Ward in Unna you fullas. (Ward acknowledges the assistance of the Noongar language and culture centre.) However in April 1991, a meeting of Noongar elders convened by the Noongar language and culture centre and held in Narrogin decided that the preferred orthography was "Noongar." Reasons given by Rose Whitehurst, the compiler of the Noongar Dictionary published by the centre, were that the elders recalled that when the missionaries first wrote the word "Noongar" for the people, this was the orthography used; and that the use of oo rather than u was preferred because there was less likelihood of it being confused with "Nunga," the name of Aboriginal people from South Australia. (Whitehurst 1992: Pers. comm.)
So the "Wadjela historians" (that's us) tend to use "Nyungar" even though the Noongars prefer "Noongar". In that case, I'd prefer to use the Noongar preferred orthography "Noongar". User:Hesperian 05:17, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Well done. After reading that, I agree with you (ie. "Noongar") also. -- —Moondyne 06:07, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm happy to go along with that, but I'd like to make a couple of points, particularly regards the above quote: Firstly, the orthography of Noongar, as used in the Noongar Dictionary uses 'ny' for the laminal nasal, which is the sound older speakers say at the start of the word noongar, so the spelling noongar actually goes against the orthography used by the Noongar Language and Culture Centre (but names are often idiosyncratic). Secondly, while the spelling 'Noongar' was indeed endorsed by the Narrogin meeting, and then again by the one at Dryandra, there is not one concensus on this. There are Noongar elders who were not at those meetings, or who held (or have developed) different views, or want to use a different spelling to distinguish themselves and their family from other Noongars. Anyway, as I say, I'm happy to go along with 'Noongar' as consistency is important, even though it's an inconsistent consistency!. Dougg 10:32, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Most have agreed to use the spelling "Noongar", however, the word was never written down by the Aboriginal people as they had no written language, so Europeans have decided to spell it this way as it sounds the closest to the pronunciation of the word.

Actually it's more accurate to say that Europeans spelled it the way that sounded to them to be closest to the pronunciation of the word--there are sounds in Noongar which are not found in English and Europeans had no idea how to represent them (and typically weren't even aware of them). More recently, linguists have worked with Noongar people on these issues and that is how the current spelling system (orthography) was developed. As I have mentioned before the spelling 'Noongar' actually goes against this orthography, but it was preferred for various non-linguistic reasons (see above for a discussion on this). Dougg 22:24, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Changed some sentences in the History section to make them NPOV. Iwalters 13:22, 17 February 2006 (UTC)


The history section seems rather Eurocentric and speaks little of the Noongar's early history. What are their origins? How long have they populated the area?

According to Lonely Planet's Western Australia (3 ed) (ISBN 0 86442 740 9), p. 108 (admittedly not the most academic of sources, but it's what I had at hand), the Noongar people have populated the Perth area for some 40,000 years. From memory, that seems to echo what I read at a West Australian Museum exhibit as well.

If anyone can find information on this, it might also be appropriate to add relevant bits to the Perth article's History section, as its current Pre-British Colonization (sic) History section is confined to previous European sightings. In fact, in reading the article, one might be led to believe that Western Australia was as terra nullius as the British claimed.

LX 05:36, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Given the finding of stone axes on Rottnest island, that have been estimated at 70,000 years ago, I would suggest that we need to update the dating of Aboriginal residence in south west Western Australia. The 40,000 ceiling gets based upon two pieces of evidence.
  • the appearance of the 40,000 ceiling for Aurignacian cultures in Western Europe, commonly (and mistakenly) considered to be the apearance of the complex cultures of Upper Paleolithic Homo Sapiens.
  • the 40,000 year ceiling for C14 daing, which cannot accurately distinguish dates before 40,000 years. Anything before that date that is subject to C14 tends to return a 40,000 year date horizon.

Hope this helps. John D. Croft 14:53, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

I think the Pinjarra massacre is worth inclusion. Some documented accounts of Noongar people in Albany prior to 'settlement' exist (I will get Ref.). Is it possible for oral traditions and history to be included in the WP (systematic bias?) Fred.e 15:59, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Noongar Patrol[edit]

I have heard reference of an aboriginal liason group, I am unsure if they are police officers or just employees of the police force, who deal with aboriginal people specifically when they get drunk or rowdy, apparently it has smashing success rates of reducing trouble as it removes the 'us and them' scenario prevalent in our society when it comes to indigenous crime rates and the like. Is there any chance of a reference to this bunch on this article as I'd love to read more about them and the concept behind them! Jachin 11:20, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

It is mentioned in the article but only in passing. Here's some links [2], [3], [4], [5]. I added it originally but I would also appreciate someone knowing more about it adding more detail. Cheers SeanMack 13:21, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, I appreciate those links. It was interesting when I first saw the difference in Western Australia as to New South Wales as far as cultural based attitudes towards indigenous people go. To be honest the aboriginies from NSW, WA and QLD for example look like completely different nationalities, each having different behavioural traits and characteristics from environmental and cultural upbringings. I was warned to 'be careful' in Western Australia and on my first day there a group of 18 aboriginies ran down the street in underwear with war paint on smashing shop fronts and beating random people. I was slightly taken aback given that I'd never seen such behaviour, then a mini bus load of men in fluro shirts pulled up and had words with them. I swear that was more effective than some arrogant cops busting down on their arses for getting rowdy. I just couldn't believe how a small group of blokes could settle down such an angry mob. I think it's a brilliant idea!  :) Jachin 03:36, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Native title claim[edit]

Is this the same Noongar people that is being reported a lot in the news recently? [6]

I have very little knowlege or understanding about the relevant issues, so do not feel I am qualified, but I feel there should be something about the native title claim in there. Anyone feel like volunteering? :) Chovain 00:23, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Woops - I just noticed this is covered in "Economics". Is this the best place for it? Chovain 00:31, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Re; Native title[edit]

It is the same people 'as seen on TV'. I think that Native Title coud do now with its own section. Economics would seem a bit mischievous as there is no effect on other titles. Fred.e 17:29, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

... or add to Current Issues section. Fred.e 17:35, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, native title deserves a section of its own. And while "negotiations" is better than "disputes" (edit made today by an IP address), it's also in court. And the the government is not the only respondent. Let's have a clearer statement of the situation. Callophylla 10:42, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I've added [link] to the case in question - Bennell v State of Western Australia. Arguably, this could do with a page of its own. userX 17:09, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Language/Adoption into WA English[edit]

I take it "gilgie" (?jilgie) is Noongar in origin - anyone got evidence? Callophylla 11:38, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, the Macquarie Dictionary says gilgie/jilgie is from the Noongar word jilgi. Grant65 | Talk 00:58, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Cherax quinquecarinatus - gilgie see Australian red claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus), hang on - this is not my sandbox. - Fred 04:47, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
List of English words of Australian Aboriginal origin
    • Wilgi, a red coloured clay; Wilgie Sketching Club. First WA art society.
Just passing Fred 17:38, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
I wonder if "boondie" for a stone to throw is also Noongar? Any ideas. John D. Croft 04:00, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Murder of Yagan[edit]

The reference provided states that Yagan was shot by a shepherd in return for a published reward. This is not a murder because by definition murder is an unlawful, wilful killing.

In view of this I have changed the wording of the sentence to something less emotive.Garrie 09:47, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Other Aboriginal Groups of Western Australia[edit]

The Ngaanyatjarra people of the Sandy, Gibson and Victoria Desert Region of WA are covered very well. I have started articles on the Yamatji and the Wangai, which need a great deal of work. Please folks, your contributions would be gratefully received. John D. Croft 06:40, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

'broader accent' ??[edit]

I removed the line about a 'broader accent' in the south being the reason for a different spelling. I don't know what 'broader accent' means, and I'm not sure it means anything particularly. Dougg (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 09:02, 22 April 2009 (UTC).

subgroups -- unsourced[edit]

I've tag this section as unsourced which it is, I also have concerns of the way in which people are descibed I have never heard of a "Perth Type" to refer to a subgroup/family grouping for Indigenous peoples. My intention is to remove this particular description, and I have removed the use of "type" in the headings. Gnangarra 11:41, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

men, women, and Rottnest[edit]

Of Men and Women[edit]

From Madge V., "New perspective", Letters to the Editor, Victoria Park Examiner, 29 February 2012, p7ff: "I then got chatting to an elder male... He explained they are not actually the Noongar people, but Bibbulmun people. Noongar means man and Yorga means woman. Apparently the white man... asked the men who they were, they answered noongar, meaning men. And the name stuck."

Of Rottnest[edit]

About 3-5000 years ago, before the Swan River existed, the Whadjuk people would walk to Rottnest in due season, stopping at a freshwater spring now located offshore from Trigg. Then the sea levels rose, and sometime later an earthquake opened the northern end of Lake Yealering, or more probably the west end of Noonalling Lake which was fed from Lake Yealering, allowing the flow of excess water down what is now the Avon River. This encouraged the Rainbow Serpents (yes, plural) to take residence in what had previously been a fairly arid part of the world. The waters of the Avon river augmented the Canning River, and opened Blackwall Reach. (talk) 09:25, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Information on the Rottnest Island Prison Misleading[edit]

The article states that prisoners on Rottnest were sent there for "offences ranging from spearing livestock, burning the bush or digging vegetables". Yet if you follow the links to the old Sunday Times archives, you'll see that in the articles condemning the conditions of the prison, the description of some individual prisoners as rapists, murderers etc. It is misleading to imply that prisoners were only sent to Rottnest for trivial offences. Whilst conditions were appalling (by today's standards), at least some of the prisoners were hardened criminals. One of the prisoners in the 1890s apparently used to murder aboriginal women by breaking their necks. A more accurate description would be for "offences ranging from spearing livestock, burning the bush and digging vegetables to murder." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:05, 25 September 2014 (UTC)