Perceptions of the country
Original inhabitants
Before European contact
First contact with Europeans
After European contact
Native Title Today

Charles Darwin Reserve hosted Badimia elders in 2004. As the representatives of the original Traditional Owners, they were asked to advise on management of the Aboriginal sites and the country generally.

The original inhabitants

Aboriginal people are presumed to have inhabited the region for more than 40,000 years, as they have done over most of Australia. Archaeological evidence in the region is however more recent. As a hunting and food-gathering society, the family groups lived off the land and moved around their tribal country according to the seasons. They had few material possessions and no need for permanent housing. A complex social system, artistic culture and strong religious law all revolved around caring for their country.

The Badimia further believe that Aboriginal people inherited custodianship of the land and are responsible to care for the country. Particular people and groups then have particular responsibility for certain areas and sites. N. Green, Director of Research, Yamatji Land and Sea Council in National Native Title Tribunal determination on Application WO00/351, p6

The relatively static population was determined by the harvest of what nature provided. Little material evidence remains of the occupation by the people who were brushed aside by the wave of newcomers in the 19th Century.

At the time of white exploration and settlement in the late 1860s, the Mongers Lake to Lake Moore area appears to have been a meeting place for south-west and inland Aboriginal people.

The focal cultural points were around the landmark hill Ninghan (Mt Singleton), Warrdagga Rock and Coodingnow Spring and pool, all to the north-east of Charles Darwin Reserve, and important sites on Mt Gibson. These are registered and protected under the Western Australian Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. This is core country for the Badimia people. Garimia (Kalamaia) people from the south-east, Ballardong (a Nyoongar group) from the south and Widi from the west all have associations with the country as well.

The Native Title claims lodged since the Commonwealth Native Title Act was introduced in 1994, reflect this meeting and overlapping of tribal boundaries. The major ecological junction between the arid zone and the wetter south-west, known as the mulga-eucalypt line, also runs across this country. Culture and ecology intertwine.

Although all of the land is special to Badimia people, some parts of the land are particularly significant. Such sites occur with frequency… N. Green, Director of Research, Yamatji Land and Sea Council in National Native Title Tribunal determination on Application WO00/351, p7

Traditional Owners are happy to share their country with others, provided due respect is given to the land in general and their significant sites in particular.  

Under Badimia law, before people go into Badimia country, a senior Badimia man should open up the country. This means that someone who knows the country, who is the custodian of that country, must go and talk to the spirits.

 Under Badimia law there can be very serious consequences if the right person doesn’t talk to the spirits before you use the country. It is believed that there will be danger for a person going onto land without permission.

N. Green,  Director of Research, Yamatji Land and Sea Council, in National Native Tribunal determination NNTTA WO,  00/351, 9 May 2001

Charles Darwin Reserve does not have any natural permanent, 'drought-proof' waters. Water was available after rain in rockholes, gnamma holes and soaks.

The archaeological evidence of small scatters of stone artefacts and rock shelters suggest the country was visited occasionally. One granite outcrop with a rockhole and a stone arrangement is a Registered Site described as 'ceremonial, man-made structure and artefacts'. All sites and evidence of traditional Aboriginal usage are protected under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 which prohibits entry to or disturbance of a site.



The region is once again valued especially for its natural features, its flora and fauna and landscapes and the opportunity to experience the natural environment much as its original inhabitants knew it.

We’re lucky, we’ve still got our bush.  Darryl Fogarty, 2006

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