Welcome to Wadjuk City We stand on ancient ground

Proudly brought to you by the State Library of Western Australia in celebration of NAIDOC 2016. Please be aware that this material contains images and names of people who are now deceased.

To celebrate NAIDOC 2016 the State Library of Western Australia invites you to explore the history of Perth and the Cultural Centre, and recognise that we all stand on ancient ground.

Visit the First Peoples | First Stories exhibition at the State Library to discover more, july 3-29 2016.
Map of Perth with original lakes and swamplands shown, 1838
The Perth CBD area was originally home to a chain of seasonal wetlands and lakes.

These water sources sustained Noongar Wadjuk people for thousands of generations but were drained to make way for the Swan River Colony. The surrounding area was then quickly flattened and reshaped.

The ground on which the State Library stands was part of the shore of Lake Kingsford which encompassed the Train Station and Perth Cultural Centre.

These ancient wetlands continue to have a presence in the city, and some large buildings still operate basement pumps to keep the rising waters at bay.
Perth foreshore and Mounts Bay in about 1870

Women like Fanny Balbuk were the custodians of this area and were devastated by the destruction wrought on their traditional boodjar (Country).

In the span of only a few decades the entire landscape was altered and cleared, destroying the traditional sources of food and water that Noongar people had kept in balance for tens of thousands of years.
Fanny Balbuk in 1907 | Noongar Elders in 1907 | Claise Brook in 1868
As the city grew noongar people were forced to adapt, but the songlines and ancient features of noongar boodjar can still be seen, you just need to look down.
Looking south across the (second) causeway and Matagarup, 1905
The State Library proudly acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Perth lands and waters, and offers our deepest respect to Elders past and present.
Noongar Elders, 1905

happy naidoc 2016

Monnop dressed for corroboree in 1907.

Photographs, articles and content have been drawn from the State Library of Western Australia collections.

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The State Library of Western Australia

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