This book is dedicated to the ten courageous, wise and trailblazing Elders who generously shared their life’s journey during this storytelling project.
Their triumphs over adversity, tireless fight for human rights and constant advocacy for respect and recognition leaves a powerful and lasting legacy.
We pay our respects to the Elders who passed during the making of this book and we thank them for gifting their stories so future generations can learn from them, heal and move forward.
This book shares images and vignettes of each of their lives. It serves to complement a series of in-depth podcast interviews featuring each Elder, and a short film documenting their reconciliation journey with the City of Perth.
Their stories, in their words – their legacy. Always was. Always will be. Aboriginal land.
This publication has been generously supported by the Aesop Foundation. Aesop’s focus on story-telling and literacy recognises that stories offer the opportunity to share our own experiences and help us to gain an insight into the lives of others. It fosters cultural richness and, in turn, empowers people to share their stories in their own words and their own ways.
BLOG POSTNgaluk Waangkiny launched at ABC Perth
02 June 2022
BLOG POSTOur first Ngaluk Waangkiny Elders
26 May 2022
BLOG POSTLaunching Ngaluk Waangkiny this Reconciliation Week
25 May 2022
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Michelle is an award winning former ABC journalist with more than thirty years’ experience in television, film, radio, print and digital media.
A proud Yamatij storyteller, she is passionate about sharing the stories of First Nation people and they have formed the basis of many of her creative projects, including short stories, publications and plays.
Michelle’s role at CAN is to look for opportunities to platform CAN’s work and partner with like-minded organisations so we can continue to deliver transformative arts and cultural development programs with communities.
When not working for CAN, Michelle volunteers on the board of 100.9fm Noongar Radio, Seesaw Magazine, As One Nyitting and is a member of the Kalamunda Arts and Culture Advisory Committee.
In 2019 Michelle was featured in the SBS series Every Family Has a Secret which explored her Mother’s stolen generation experiences of removal as a child. She also discovered her Grandfather was sent from England to Australia as a child migrant.
Elly is an experienced Project Manager with a passion for creating spaces for connections to grow and for people to be heard. She joined the CAN team in March 2020 as Lullabies Project Coordinator and in 2021 moved into a Program Manager role, overseeing both CAN’s Lullabies and Place Names projects.
Since 2012, Elly has worked in a variety of project coordination and facilitation roles in the arts and community sectors including supporting young people to develop social action projects to advocate for their rights and create positive systemic change.
In 2020, Elly coordinated CAN’s Noongar Lullabies from Home project, bringing Noongar artists and families together online to learn and celebrate Noongar language through the creation and recording of lullabies.
Cole Baxter is a Noongar man, born and raised on Whadjuk Noongar Boodjar. Cole is particularly drawn to observational photography and is actively engaged in community events. He is regularly seen documenting rallies, protests and other political demonstrations in Boorloo/Perth.
Nani is bridging the gap between brands and how they engage with Aboriginal culture and creativity. This Aboriginal-owned design studio is powered by what's to come. More Aboriginal artists taking a seat at the table of commercial storytelling. More acknowledgement. More yarns, authenticity, self-determination, and great work.
Our purpose is bigger than the design itself. Led by truth and a vision for more, Nani's projects infuse First Nations' creativity into the very fabric of our society, merging the worlds of Aboriginal art and commercial design. That kind of storytelling is deadly.
Tyrown Waigana is a Wandandi Noongar (Aboriginal) and Ait Koedhal (Torres Strait Islander) multidisciplinary artist and graphic designer. His practice includes painting, illustration, sculpture, animation and graphic design and his clients include Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, Australian National University and First Nations Justice Campaign. He recently won the 2020 NAIDOC poster competition.
Tyrown’s paintings and sculpture are expressive and abstract explorations of fantasy and surreal concepts. He has had pieces featured in Fremantle Art Center’s Revealed Exhibition 2019 and held in the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries (WA) Collection.
Poppy van Oorde-Grainger
Poppy van Oorde-Grainger is a filmmaker and artist based in Perth WA. She is also founding director of Same Drum production company. Poppy first gained national recognition as winner of the Fremantle Print Award and later the Australia Council Kirk Robson Award for leadership in community arts and cultural development.
Poppy’s work has been broadcast on Nickelodeon, SBS and ABC and presented at international festivals and galleries including London International Festival of Theatre, Japan Media Arts Festival and Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Most recently Poppy directed, co-produced and co-wrote Galup for Perth Festival 2021.
Uncle Albert McNamara
It wouldn’t be even 20, 30 years ago, Aboriginal people couldn’t even get a foot in the foyer of the City of Perth. And now we’re up on the sixth floor talking with the mayor and making changes.
Uncle Ben Taylor Cuiermara
Aunty Doolann Leisha Eatts
I belong to Whadjuk Noongar boodjar through my grandmother, Fanny Yurleen Bennell and her dad belongs to Kings Park, Lake Monger, Jack Monger Bennell... They lived there for years before Captain Stirling came in with the Red Coat troops and slaughtered them and chased them off.”
Uncle Farley Garlett
I went back through my Native Welfare reports and I was documented in it from when I was born until I turned 18. There were reports from postmasters, the police, teachers, even shopkeepers – everyone was keeping an eye on us.”
Aunty Irene McNamara
"I went to school at Wandering Mission. It only went to grade four, so I was in grade four for three years! I didn’t have much schooling, but I still ended up working for the Education Department for more than 30 years and I’m in their Hall of Fame”
Aunty Margaret Culbong
"Racism doesn’t change overnight, but it takes action and you’ve got to do it, because we’re been here for 60,000 years and we’ll be here for another 60,000.”
Aunty Muriel Bowie
"We kept in the bush because Native Welfare was always around and they’d come along and grab the kids and take them away... One minute your cousins are there and then the next they’re down at Roelands Mission.”
Uncle Noel Nannup
"Every time I get the opportunity now, I’m always talking to young people and saying – look, you have your old people at home and they are your library. Go and talk to them and find out as much as you can about your family line and hang onto that.”
Aunty Theresa Walley
"I was taken away. In the middle of the night. There I was asleep in my bed and black figure came into my room and grabbed me, wrapped me around in a blanket and took me and placed me in the back of a truck. By morning, we were at Carrolup.”
Uncle Walter Eatts
"I wasn’t wanted by my white side and I didn’t know how to break into my Aboriginal side, so I was just somewhere in between, in limbo more or less... not black, not white, not wanted.”