Freeing up my Wednesday evenings has meant that I’ve been able to attend Noel Nannup’s Noongar Cultural Workshops for the past four weeks – they’re really good, that’s what Kwobidaarn means (I hope!!)
Noel interweaves his own personal story of growing up in Western Australia with the narrative of a Noongar following a traditional upbringing in the Fremantle area prior to European colonisation. Both stories begin with birth into family and Country, with strong links to land, values and culture. You can see a great video about Noel and his take on land, culture and spirituality here.
Through the four weeks, Noel shares stories about culture, how the land was used, the way seasons were perceived and how families functioned – all presented in an enlightening way by the campfire. Sat amongst the grass trees, you could almost forget that you were on Wray Avenue were it not for the occasional juxtaposition of buses and loud pedestrians passing by.
My personal highlight was Noel’s recollection of his uncle, whom I saw taking on the mythical mentor figure found in so many stories. Thomas Nannup returned from a kind of exile to teach a young Noel in depth about his Noongar culture and inspire him with stories such as the beautiful ‘Carers of Everything’. It was a such a powerful story.
Emma and I were lucky enough to spend a weekend out on Country a couple of months back, travelling between Fremantle and Wave Rock, following songlines like that of the koodjal dwert – two dogs dreaming – and the Carers of Everything story itself to several sacred sites.
The four week Noongar Cultural Workshops are another incredible thing happening on Wray Avenue courtesy of Bruce Abbott at Replants which I totally recommend. Thanks to Noel, Bruce and Joanie for making it happen.
The next 4-week storytelling series starts on . Check out the Replants website here for more details.