Noongar culture and language celebrated through place names at new stations - METRONET


Noongar culture and language celebrated through place names at new stations

  • 10 May 2023

Katabirup* (Claremont Station), Goolamup** (Kelmscott Station) and Mandjoogoordap *** (Mandurah Station) are the first of 26 Noongar place names to be incorporated into new stations across the METRONET program of works as part of the Noongar Place Names Initiative – the first of its kind for rail infrastructure in Western Australia.

The Noongar Place Names Initiative acknowledges the traditional and ongoing connection of Noongar people to Country, and celebrates and promotes multiple facets of Noongar culture, customs and values across METRONET projects through language.

“The place names and their meanings educate the community about the spiritual significance, cultural practices, native animals and endemic plant species to each local area,” Gnarla Biddi Strategy Lead Brenton Turner explains. 

“By acknowledging and integrating Noongar place names across METRONET projects, we are recognising and celebrating the special relationships between the people, country and language.”

Elders on the METRONET Noongar Reference Group worked closely with researchers, linguists and facilitators to identify the place names and their meanings. Where appropriate, the place names were then confirmed with local community groups.

Themes such as traditional names, song lines which depict how Noongar people see the development of the ancient world during ‘The Dreaming’, plants and animals which provided connection to the land, and food for survival have been implemented to reflect the long-standing relationship Noongar people have with the land. 

Each place name will be included at new stations through public art, architecture, landscaping, structural design, materials and interpretative signage. 

The Noongar Place Names Initiative addresses Noongar Cultural Recognition and Noongar Cultural Input into Place Making streams of the Gnarla Biddi (Our Pathways) Strategy.


*Katabirup (Kart-a-bir-up) meaning ‘The place where the track to the top of the hill is located’.
**Goolamup (Goolam-up) meaning ‘The place of young men’.
***Mandjoogoordap (Marn-joo-goord-ap) meaning ‘Meeting place of the heart’.

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