Nyungar Tourist Trail - Port Coogee Marina
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
The Nyungar Tourist Trail is located within an important traditional gathering place for the Nyungar people at Wardan Gepa Boodjaralup (the sea shore) at Port Coogee. The trail features Ngarkal (Seagull) Beach and The Lookout plus Kidogo Glass Artworks. The trail includes signage and audio that shares important Aboriginal stories in traditional Nyungar language. We couldn't really hear the audio as we were walking around so decided to listen later and fill in any gaps.
Kidogo glass artworks
The Nyungar Tourist Trail follows a chain of parks running east and west from Lucretia Circle and it is within these parks that you will find seven glass artworks created by the Kidogo Artist’s Team. Paintings were created and printed onto glass and cover stories of:
Wetlands in spring
Crossing Cockburn Sound
Beeliar Boodjar Grass trees (Balga) have also been planted here.
Starting at Socrates Park opposite the Omeo Wreck we found three artworks however one had been removed, hopefully for repair! Each park is signposted with the name of the park and the origin's of the European name and on the reverse are written different Nyungar words so as you stroll along the trail you can build up quite a vocabulary!
These artworks represent:
Wetlands in Spring - "the wetlands abound with yabbies, turtles, wild fowl and eggs for the Beeliar who hunt kangaroos and other small animals which foraged nearby. The blues and smoky green represent steamy wetlands and woodlands."
Regeneration - "The bush comes alive with the wind whipping through branches carrying pods and seeds from burnt trees and plants. Insects and birds sing with joy when the flowers are yellow."
From Socrates Park you cross Orsino Boulevard straight into Lucretia Park which has a small playground and lots of lovely grassy areas as well as one large artwork encircling a tree.
"The wetlands are a rich source of food and medicine. The area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the Nyungar people.""
From Lucretia Park we walked along Huntress Avenue to Arabella Park which was home to another small playground and one more artwork. Like the artwork in Lucretia Park the surface of these works has weathered and they were a little dull.
At the top end of Arabella Park we took a moment to sit on the shaded bench and take in the views down hill to the water. We only managed to find 5 of the artworks so there are 2 still out there awaiting discovery another time!
Following Arabella Loop (the top section) north we crossed Pantheon Avenue onto Bombay Heights taking the second street, Podman Loop, to the right. Along Podman Loop we enjoyed the decorative artworks on the noise wall as well as the varied modern architecture of the houses before taking the paved path into Bombay Park. This bushy Park was filled with birdsong as we walked the short distance to The Lookout, the second major point on this trail.
This spot high on the hill overlooks the coast. It is planted with Casuarina trees, a significant tree for the Nyungar people. These were used for making spears, the trunks for attracting grubs for eating, and the liquid helped with toothaches. The trees are pollinated by the wind, which whispers through the canopy. The Nyungar word for Casuarina tree is ‘kwel’. There is a plaque here acknowledging Kudjal Marmam karla-mia (Two Men Home Fire).
From here the path wound back down the slope on to Hydaspe Vista and then onto Lullworth Avenue back towards the coast and Ngarkal Beach. If you have kids with you make the slight detour to the Port Coogee Play Park.
Ngarkal (Seagull) beach
Local Nyungar people camped at Port Coogee beach and it was known as ‘Seagull Camp’. For Nyungar people, gulls play an important spiritual role, from back before the sea levels rose, when Wadjemup (Rottnest), Meeandip (Garden) and Ngoorloormayup (Carnac) islands were coastal hills. Gulls now maintain the spiritual link by flying between Nyungar country on the mainland, and the islands.
This protected beach is ideal for younger kids but there is also a pontoon for older kids to jump off. There is a water park and some dinosaur eggs to play on. There are toilet, picnic and barbecue facilities and a Dome cafe around the corner.
The City of Cockburn has a rich history, dating back 40,000 years. The City’s traditional owners are the Beeliar Nyungar people and their spirit will always be linked to Cockburn Boodjar. Boodjar means land and provides the life, sense of identity and belonging for the Beeliar Nyungar. Beeliar Nyungar means river people and they are one of the clans of the Whadjuk, the Aboriginal people of the Perth metropolitan area. European settlers arrived in Cockburn in 1829 but it wasn’t until the 1890s that the City began to rapidly develop into the fast growing local government area it is today.
Nyungar creation stories tell us that the City of Cockburn’s chains of wetlands are symbolised by a rainbow serpent, the Waakal, which twists its way from Fremantle to Mandurah. The Waakal creates the shape of the Boodjar (land) and gives foundation to the meaning of life. Traditionally, the Beeliar Nyungar lived alongside the wetlands and there are sixteen identified Aboriginal campsites in Cockburn, mostly along the banks of North and Bibra Lakes. The Beeliar Nyungar created many well-worn trails to and from these lakes. These trails formed the main transport route between the Murray and Swan River Nyungar Groups and the area was an important place of trade activity for Aboriginal people. Places in Cockburn, such as Coogee, are special to the Beeliar Nyungar. Cockburn’s supply of natural resources including fresh water, vegetation and wildlife meant that the Beeliar Nyungar could sustain their way of life for thousands of years.
This trail will take 45 to 60 minutes to complete plus all the extra time for the various playgrounds if you have kids in tow. We parked at the Omeo Wreck but if you have kids it is probably easier to park at Ngarkal Beach so you can have a play and a picnic there after exploring the trail.
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If you want to explore further:
In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.