Placenames of Derbal Nara

The place names of Derbal Nara have meanings that are connected to cultural stories, cultural practices, animals, plants, relationships and the weather. Place names may not be fixed with singular meanings. Rather there may be multiple descriptions or phenomena and complex layers of meaning attached to the same place.

An 1833 issue of Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal shows how the colonial settlers realised that Nyungars had substantial biophysical knowledge and cultural appreciation of their own country:
The following distinctions in the description of the country, will show that these savages are not destitute of geological knowledge. It is highly probable that in their poetical compositions would be found allusions to the origin of the different divisions in the country here enumerated, and all lying to the Westward of the Blue mountains [i.e. Darling Ranges]; for a doubt can now be hardly entertained that the whole of Quartania is of recent formation.1

Click on the sound files in the right hand column of the table hear the Nyungar words.

Click on the picture or name for more information on each item.

Derbal Nara placenames

The suburb of Beeliar

click to play sound Beeliar

Derbal Nara placenames

Booyeembara Park

click to play sound Booyeembara

Derbal Nara placenames

North Lake - the name Coolbellup now also refers to a whole suburb.

click to play sound Coolbellup

Derbal Nara placenames

Cockburn Sound

click to play sound Derbal Nara

Derbal Nara placenames

Fishing Boat Harbour

click to play sound Gilgit Nyunakil

Derbal Nara placenames

Thompsons Lake

click to play sound Jilbup

Derbal Nara placenames

Kogolup Lake

click to play sound Kogolup

Derbal Nara placenames

Bathers Beach

click to play sound Manjaree

Derbal Nara placenames

Garden Island

click to play sound Meeandip

Derbal Nara placenames

Carnac Island

click to play sound Ngooloorm√≠yup


1Lyon, R. M. ‘A Glance at the Manners, and Language of the Aboriginal Inhabitants of Western Australia; With a Short Vocabulary’, Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 20 April 1833, 63-64.