Noongar Culture

Noongar, which literally translated means man, is a culture linked by a common language and affiliation with the land. It is made up of 14 tribes.


The Noongar people believe the Waagle, or Rainbow Serpent, dominated the earth and the sky creating waterways and people. It is a central figure in Noongar culture. Noongar people believe the Waagle gave life and sustenance to people who in return became custodians of the land.

To the Noongar culture, Boojar, or land is important. Each tribal group had their own kaleep, or favoured camping locality, which held a special significance for them. The culture has a complex relationship to the land and pays respect to the seasons and the bountiful supply of food.

However, the Noongar culture was to change dramatically when Europeans settled Western Australia in 1829.

The breakdown of their long-held traditions occurred between the 1870s and 1940s through the enforced relocation of traditional landholders under Government law.

These changes to the Aboriginal culture, imposed by white settlers, is sometimes reflected in Noongar art work in what has become known as the ‘Carrolup style’ of painting.

However these people’s strong connection to the land has never ended and it is this connection which holds most prominence in the uniquely Australian, Noongar Aboriginal art.

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