Gnarla Biddi

Gnarla Biddi Aboriginal Engagement Strategy

The Gnarla Biddi (Our Pathways) Strategy is our long-term commitment to embed genuine engagement with the Aboriginal community across our program of works.

In December 2018, the strategy was endorsed by the Whadjuk and Gnaala Karla Booja Working Parties and renamed ‘Gnarla Biddi’ to reflect the ongoing pathways and connections the projects are creating throughout Perth.

Read the Gnarla Biddi Strategy and the Gnarla Biddi Strategy Summary.

Read more about how the METRONET Program is incorporating the Gnarla Biddi Strategy.

The Gnarla Biddi Strategy is supported by a framework of five engagement streams, which allow for cultural, business, job and land access outcomes for the Aboriginal community. The streams are:

  • Noongar cultural recognition
  • Noongar cultural input into place making
  • Aboriginal procurement
  • Aboriginal employment
  • land access and sites management.

If you are a registered Aboriginal business, or more than 50 per cent Aboriginal-owned, we encourage you to complete our Construction Business Register to have your business listed as interested in METRONET work opportunities.

Noongar Place Names

The Noongar Place Names Initiative acknowledges the traditional and ongoing connection of Noongar people to Country, and celebrates and includes Noongar language across our program of works. 

Noongar place names educate the community about theological or spiritual significance, endemic plants and native animals to the local area. 

Noongar consultants were engaged to help identify the place names and their meanings by reviewing existing information and consulting with the METRONET Noongar Reference Group. Where appropriate, these names were then confirmed with local community groups. 

As each place name is identified, it will be considered for inclusion in METRONET projects through:

  • public art
  • architecture
  • landscaping
  • structural design
  • materials and finishes
  • interpretative signage. 

The Noongar Place Names Initiative addresses the Gnarla Biddi Strategy engagement streams one and two – Noongar Cultural Recognition and Noongar Cultural Input into Place Making.

Station/Location and Noongar Place Name Phonetic Spelling Narrative – Description
Alkimos Station – Kyleeup Kylee-up ‘Place of the Kylee (Boomerang)’
Bayswater Station – Biraliny Birr-al-in ‘The track where the Merenj (food plants) is located’
Beckenham Station – Djarlgarra Djarl-gar-ra ‘Place of abundance (Canning River)’
Bennett Springs East Station – Ketinup Ket-in-up ‘Place of the freshwater mussel’
Byford Station – Beenyup Been-yup ‘Place for digging for the warrain (native potatoes)’
Cannington Station – Karakaliny Kar-ak-al-iny ‘Place of the Red Tailed Black Cockatoo
Carlisle Station – Djoorolup Djoorol-up ‘Place of the Jarrah trees’
Claremont Station – Katabirup Kart-a-bir-up ‘The place where the track to the top of the hill is located’
East Perth – Boodjamiyalup Boodja Miyal-up ‘Place where we come to see each other’
Eglinton Station – Wilgarup Wil-gar-up ‘Place of the ochre’
Ellenbrook Station – Karla Gnara Karla Nara ‘Firestick farming or consumption (eating) by fire’
Greenwood Station – Kwelyup Kwel-yup ‘Place of the river Sheoak’
Karnup Station – Karnup Karn-up 'Place of the milkmaids flowers'
Kelmscott Station – Goolamup Goolam-up ‘The place of the young men’
Lakelands Station – Yaakanap Yark-an-up ‘Place of the Yaakan (turtle)’
Malaga Station – Oordal Kalla Oord-al Ka-lla ‘Clan of Yallagonga’
Mandurah Station – Mandjoogoordap Marn-joo-goord-ap ‘Meeting place of the heart’
Midland Station – Mandjanup Marn-jarn-up ‘The place where meetings take place for trade and exchange – an important meeting place’
Morley Station – Weeip Wee-ip ‘A leader, Birdiyia, of the Upper Swan region’
Nicholson Road Station – Waitj-biddi Waytch-biddi ‘The emu tracks’
Noranda Station – Bohrnup Bohrn-up ‘Place of the native chilli’
Oats Street Station – Mundee Mun-dee ‘Leader of the Djooral Kalla clan’
Queens Park Station – Boree Boree Bor-ee Bor-ee ‘The large flat plain and land of Joobaitch’
Ranford Road Station – Mandjakarlup Marn-jar-karl-up ‘The place to come together’
Whiteman Park Station – Wirrinup Wirrin-up ‘A place with strong spiritual presence situated here’
Yanchep Station – Yanchep Yan-chep ‘A native flax or bulrush’ (Yanchep is derived from the Noongar word Yanget)

Read more about the Noongar Place Names on the fact sheet.

METRONET Noongar Reference Group

Established in 2019 with nominated representatives from the Whadjuk and Gnaala Karla Booja working parties, the METRONET Noongar Reference Group provides cultural input and advice on the METRONET Program.

Working with key stakeholders, the Group delivers valuable input, advice and support for the Noongar cultural recognition and cultural input into place making engagement streams of the Gnarla Biddi Aboriginal Engagement Strategy.

Core activities include:

  • reviewing and verifying Noongar cultural context documents to provide cultural input into projects before the design and development phases 
  • guiding cultural awareness training and cultural recognition activities
  • providing cultural input into how projects interpret and apply information from Noongar cultural context documents
  • providing cultural input to identify and validate the Noongar Place Names Initiative.

METRONET Noongar Reference Group members

Peter Michael

Peter’s passion for contributing to the development of Perth’s new rail infrastructure through the METRONET Noongar Reference Group stems from a long family history and involvement in rail, handed down through generations from his father and grandfather.

It is an opportunity for Peter to contribute in his own way as a proud advocate for Noongar people.

“It puts a smile on my face to be involved, have input and tell our stories and when the METRONET projects are complete, I will feel proud being part of the METRONET Noongar Reference Group, just like my father and grandfather would have felt putting the railway together.”

Greg Ugle

Greg has connection to rail through family members and friends and sees the METRONET Noongar Reference Group as a positive way to get involved in METRONET projects to bring awareness to the Noongar language and bring about change.

“When I drive along Tonkin Highway, I tell my grandchildren about the stations and the work we’re doing to give them Noongar names so they can understand what these places mean through Noongars and the Government working together.”

Doreen Nelson

After growing up next to the train line most of her life, Doreen always had an interest in trains and was keen to join the METRONET Noongar Reference Group to provide input into the design of stations and share her history and culture.

As well as being an METRONET Noongar Reference Group member, Doreen is Chairperson for Mooditj Koort Aboriginal Health Association; part of the Aboriginal elder’s advisory group for Murdoch University, on the advisory committee for the City of Rockingham and sits on the Whadjuk Cultural Advisory Committee. 

“By contributing to the METRONET Noongar Reference Group, I hope my knowledge and cultural experience as an Aboriginal person will benefit society.”

Lera Bennell

Lera is a representative of the Gnaala Karla Booja working party and joined the METRONET Noongar Reference Group to make a difference to the ways of working with Government through METRONET. 

“Through the MNRG, we’re involved in the decision-making processes for storytelling, naming, language, art and design for each new station. I believe the METRONET Noongar Reference Group has a strong, honest voice and we’ve made changes that are creating respect for truth, acknowledgment, history and heritage – and a better understanding between Noongar and non-Aboriginal people.”

Aunty Marion

Aunty Marion joined the METRONET Noongar Reference Group after being chosen as a representative from the Whadjuk Working Party.

She is a proud member of the Group with family links with the railways through her Aunty who worked her days as a railway cleaner from Perth to East Perth Station; and her father who worked on the railways in regional Western Australia.

She enjoys having cultural input into the METRONET program of works and has learnt a great deal through her involvement in the group. 

Aunty Geri

With a passion for sharing stories and experiences with the community, Aunty Geri Hayden wanted to join the METRONET Noongar Reference Group to relay her stories, in her way. Nominated to join the group from the Gnaarla Karla Booja Working Party, Aunty Geri is focused on ensuring Noongar culture and stories are accurately told and shared with the community.
Growing up in the wheatbelt and being involved in community outreach created opportunities for Aunty Geri in variety of roles, from project officer at the South-West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council through to Noongar Coordinator at the Community Arts Network. She is also involved in many community programs that help give a voice to Noongar people, like the Whadjuk Aboriginal Heritage Consultants Cultural Heritage Committee. 
“It’s important to represent Noongar people and accurately tell stories about where we come from and who we are,” Aunty Geri explains. “I’m passionate about culture and heritage and ensuring sites are properly recognised across projects. Joining the METRONET Noongar Reference Group is a way for me to have a voice and strive to make change, not only in the rail infrastructure industry but setting an industry standard for cultural consultation.” 

Read more about the members of the METRONET Noongar Reference Group.

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