It was a pleasant sunny Tuesday morning in January at the iconic Cottesloe beach when children from around Perth and their accompanying adults joined Perth NRM and Urban Indigenous to learn about the Noongar season of Birak. Ron Bradfield Jnr from Urban Indigenous shared wonderful stories of how the Aboriginal people spent their days on the coast during the hottest time of the year.
Ron told the children about how there are many places named Perth in the world but there was only one placed called Whadjuk Boodjar. He told them that they live in a special and unique country and encouraged the children that if someone asked where they were from to tell them they live in Whadjuk Boodjar.
To the children’s delight, Rod showed giant shells that were used for food and carrying fresh water. He told how the shells could be used to leave messages for those visiting known fresh water reserves, to show if there was still water available or if it had dried up depending on which way the giant shells were laid. If the shell was the right way up then the water source was good, but if it was upside-down then it was necessary to travel to the next watering hole.
After listening to the stories and getting to handle and experience the giant shells, it was time to enjoy a painting activity. Rod talked about Aboriginal art and design that was used to tell stories and share knowledge in the paintings. Each child was given paint pens and a small canvas to then decorate and tell their own story. After enjoying painting, it was then time to enjoy some lemon myrtle bushtucker cake and fresh peaches and nectarines from WA Stonefruit. The children all had a wonderful time.
Perth NRM thanks Urban Indigenous for helping to celebrate Birak. This event was made possible because of funding provided through a Coastwest grant from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.
For more information about the Celebrate BIRAK school holiday activity and the community engagement work that Perth NRM is doing as part of the Coastwest grant please contact Sharon Munro at email@example.com