Wanjina Wunggurr Dambimangari elders, Janet Oobagooma and Samson Morlumbun celebrate the Federal Court Determination of Native Title at Yaloon on 26 May 2011 | © Kimberley Land Council
At sea equidem.
A rich and dynamic living Aboriginal culture
Aboriginal people have lived in the west Kimberley for at least 40,000 years and today it continues to be home to Aboriginal groups practising traditional law in the world's oldest continuous culture.
From the Dampier Peninsula along the north Kimberley coast, Aboriginal people used the unique double log raft, galwa or kalum, and their remarkable knowledge of tidal movement to travel to offshore islands and otherwise inaccessible coastal areas.
Painted images of creator beings, ancestors, plants and animals in rock shelters and caves represent a stunning visual record of an ongoing Aboriginal painting tradition that is considered one of the longest and most complex 'rock art' sequences anywhere in the world.
The beautifully executed Gwion-Gwion/Girrogorro rock paintings of the Wanjina–Wunggurr and Balangarra homelands provide an extraordinary insight into the material culture of Aboriginal society over thousands of years.
In the Wanjina–Wunggurr homeland, Wanjina and Wungurr creator beings, manifested in rock art figures, stone arrangements and landscape features, are central to the laws and customs of the Wanjina–Wunggurr people and guide every aspect of their lives.
The history of Aboriginal people in the Kimberley has been one of resistance, adaptation and survival in the face of dramatic change. In the 1890's, Aboriginal resistance fighter, Jandamarra and the Bunuba people's intimate knowledge of the rugged Oscar and Napier Ranges was crucial in their struggle to resist European pastoral settlement.
The dispute at Noonkanbah Station in 1980 between Aboriginal people, a resource company and the western Australian Government over oil drilling in a sacred area was a pivotal event in the struggle by Traditional Owners for their right to determine what happens on their country. The history of resistance, survival and adaptation has lead to the strong voice and living culture of Kimberley Aboriginal people today.
"National Heritage Listing captures the stories of our culture, our people and our country from the past, present and future. We are one mob connected through the cultural landscape of the Kimberley"
Janet Oobagooma, Kimberley Land Council Cultural Adviser