Land photo
Find out about traditional land ownership. Information on Noongar land, the Noongar way of life, Elders’ territory and local place name.

Noongar land

The area now known as the City of Armadale was originally occupied by the Noongar people many thousands of years before European settlement. The territory of the Noongar people was the triangle of Western Australia's southwest extending from the Geraldton district south to Cape Leeuwin, continuing southeast almost to Esperance and then in a line northwest to rejoin the coast at Geraldton.

The Noongar people were very connected to the land. Their survival depended on a thorough understanding of the environment and the plants and creatures in it.

This knowledge came from the mythical Dreaming, a period when:

  • All things began
  • The laws of Aboriginal society were established
  • The people learned the foods they could eat and the things that must not be touched
  • The people discovered an interdependence with their surroundings - an invisible chain that linked people and the environment.

This form of religion and philosophy made the Noongar inseparable from the land. Any change in the environment meant a change in the lifestyle of the people.

The Noongar way of life

In the southwest corner, the climate was generous to the Noongar people. They lived on the coastline in the drier months, eating the food supplied by the lakes, which were filled during the rains.

Just before the onset of winter, the people would move to drier inland areas following the kangaroos and emus, setting up shelters wherever food was plentiful. There is little information about the area now known as the City of Armadale, but we know that Noongar tribal elders were responsible for specific areas.

Elders' territory

The map identifies place names and territories described by Yagan (an Aboriginal Elder) to Robert Lyon in 1832.

As shown by the map, the area to the north and east of the Canning River was part of Beeloo, Munday's territory. The area to the south and west of the Canning River was Beeliar, Midgegooroo's territory.

Map by Neville Green

Place names and territories recorded by Robert Lyon in 1832 (map by Neville Green, 1979).

Local place names

The Noongar name for Kelmscott is Goolamrup, and the Canning River is known as Dyarlgaroo (Broken Spears: Green: 1984).

Page Last Reviewed 22 August 2023