Artist Natalie Scholtz working on cultural mapping with community members
Place Names Walyalup is an inclusive community arts and cultural development project produced by CAN in partnership with Moodjar Consultancy, the Noongar community and the City of Fremantle.
Inspired by Professor Len Collard’s seminal research, CAN and Moodjar Consultancy have developed a community-led, creative model for decoding the ancient meanings embedded in placenames.
Working with Noongar Elders and community members, Elders Len Collard and Geri Hayden led decoding workshops that placed local knowledge, language, memories and stories as primary sources. Reviews of historical documents and wordlists created by European settlers were secondary sources. This process decoded the Noongar names of five prominent local locations in Walyalup; Cantonment Hill, Bather’s Beach, the Waterways, the Ocean and Rocky Bay.
Using a creative cultural mapping method led by arts practitioners, Natalie Scholtz, Elly Jones and Sandy McKendrick the Walyalup group explored these five placenames which have resulted in an exhibition at Fremantle Arts Centre.
The meanings and stories have been creatively expressed in a large-scale cultural map, more than 40 individual artworks, a series of short films, educational resources and an interactive digital map.
As a member of the stolen generations, I have felt tremendous healing in learning about this ancestral Dreamtime story [Dwertawirrinup]. And while sharing it with you, I have experienced healing. I have experienced a reconnection with country, with my wider moort, other Noongar people. And this has meant a powerful source of healing, of reconnecting, of knowing who I am and where I come from.
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Elly is a community music making enthusiast. With a passion for creating connections and opportunities for people to be heard, Elly has worked in a variety of roles including coordinating arts and health projects, supporting young people to develop social action projects and empowering young people with an Out-of-Home Care experience to advocate for their rights and create positive systemic change.
As a recent member of the CAN family, Elly is coordinating CAN’s Lullabies project. Lullabies brings together Noongar families to learn and celebrate Noongar and use these language skills in creative outlets including songwriting, lullabies and doll making.
In her spare time, Elly loves being outside running and biking, making music and singing with friends.
Natalie Scholtz is an African Persian British Australian visual artist. She is inspired by creative conversations around the relationship of self and society, action and response, culture, arts and change.
Natalie has had the pleasure of being part of CAN’s Place Names over the past 5 years, connecting with local Noongar Elders, community and a range of learning and talent from Langford, Albany, Katanning and now Fremantle.
Sandy is an arts practitioner who works across performance, puppetry and multimedia. She runs Sandpiper Productions, a company creating hybrid art collaborations and performances locally and nationally. She has been an artist in residence in Zambia, South Korea, Cocos and Christmas Island. She is driven by a passion to give voice to the unheard.
Sandy was involved in CAN’s Place Names Moora project, working with local Elders and community members to explore their stories, experiences and languages of Moora and surrounding areas.
Moodjar Consultancy Director
Len Collard is a Whadjuk Nyungar Traditional Owner of the Perth metropolitan area and Professor at School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia. Len’s ground breaking theoretical work and research around decoding Noongar Place Names of the Southwest of Australia has put Nyungar Cultural research on the local, national and international stages.
With a background in literature and communications, Len’s research has allowed the broadening of the understanding of the many unique characteristics of Australian Aboriginal people and contributes to the appreciation of Aboriginal culture and heritage of the Southwest Australia.
Geri has worked with both Aboriginal community organisations, non-government organisations and government bodies. As the former chairperson of the Southern Aboriginal Corporation she gained experience working in Noongar communities to implement social justice and wellbeing projects. She worked as a project officer with South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council for several years and has been a part of the South West Native Title Settlement, the largest native title settlement in Australian history, which will affect an estimated 30,000 Noongar People 200,000 square kilometres in South West WA.