Your Guide to Western Australia
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indigenous culture + history
The Indigenous Australian culture is one of the oldest and most fascinating on earth. Australia's first inhabitants were Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. They are believed to have arrived in migratory waves from South East Asia around 40,000 years ago, making Australia one of the oldest continents in the world both geologically and in terms of continuous human history. Australia's indigenous people now make up only 1.5% of Australia's total population. There are many Indigenous groups native to Western Australia.
the nyoongar people
The original inhabitants of South Western Australia and the area on which Perth now stands, enjoyed the abundant food and water found along the coastal plain. Conservationists by nature, they were semi-nomadic, moving with the availability of food as the seasons changed. They were hunter-gatherers who took only what they needed to survive and had a high regards for life and the land.
arts + language
Indigenous Australians believed that their ancestors created the land and were 'great spirits of the Dreaming' who controlled the movements of the planets and the stars, the seasons and the tides. Aboriginal law and custom evolved from the myths that grew up around these ancestor figures. They also believed the process of telling these myths whether in dance, song or painting enabled them to draw on the power and influence of their ancestral spirits. In a culture which has no written language, their very distinctive art form, which reflects a deep connection with the land and the environment, evolved over many millennia to record the beliefs and stories from the 'Dreaming', enabling them to be passed on to successive generations.
Discover more about the Indigenous people of Western Australia during your visit; there are some great accommodation and tour operators who welcome visitors to learn about their culture and lifestyle. There are Indigenous Interpretive Centres in Kings Park in Perth City, Karijini National Park in the North West and the towns of Yallingup and Kojonup in the South West.
Other ways to enjoy an authentic experience with Indigenous Australians include taking a guided walking tour or a camping safari, led by traditional custodians of the land. Enjoy bush tucker, listen to stories and music-making – you might even get to have a go at throwing a boomerang. More adventurous options include cruising along gorges of the North West, taking on a four-wheel drive desert adventure in the Golden Outback, or mudcrabbing with local families on the Dampier Peninsula.
To learn more about the Indigenous people of Australia, or to find out how you can immerse yourself in their culture on your travels to Western Australia, contact the WA Indigenous Tourism Operators Committee (WAITOC). They are a not for profit organisation representing Indigenous tourism in Western Australia and promote authentic Indigenous tourism ventures for visitors to the state.