Djerdap

Original artwork by Ron Gidgup. Stories were collected by Noongar Elder Len Collard.

There are many Dreamtime stories about the role of birds that help interpret the Noongar world in the same way that traditional stories do in all cultures. Birds are often messengers in Noongar boodja.

Three birds that are found in Jirdarup feature regularly in Dreamtime stories:

  • Djidi Djidi—the Willie Wagtail known as the messenger or spy bird
  • Kulbardi—the Magpie, the clever singer
  • Wardong—the Raven who is lazy and a cunning scavenger.

Over the last year and more, people have asked for more information about the Noongar culture in Jirdarup. We have been able to include Noongar people in several of our events, and we will continue to do this. In addition, we aim to make information more readily available, in our publications, on our website, and now in a brochure featuring Noongar bird stories.

This Djerap brochure contains stories collected by Noongar Elder Emeritus Professor Dr Lennard M Collard which we are reproducing with his permission.

It also includes original artwork by Noongar Whadjuk/Yamatji man Ron Gidgup. This work represents the Wardong– crow or raven—and the Kulbardi – magpie—which are very spiritual birds within the Noongar Whadjuk communities. Ron said: “These birds come to us giving us different greetings and messages, which can be omens, or news of good things to come. The colours represent the seasons, Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang in which the Wardong and the Kulbardi can always be seen.”

This brochure has been produced with the support of Hannah Beazley MLA and our SNRM grant.

Copies are available in sets of 20 from our store.

Related resources

Collard L, Harben S, van den Berg, R (2004). Nidja Beeliar, Boodjar Noonookurt Nyininy: A Nyungar interpretive history of the use of boodjar (country) in the vicinity of Murdoch University. Report prepared for Murdoch University.

Collard, LM (2009) Djidi Djidi, Wardong, Kulbardi, Walitj and Weitj: Nyungar Dream Time Messengers. Westerly 54: 2

Collard, N. Whadjuk Trail Network. Oral stories.  

Dandjoo Moordyap Dabarkan Noongar Language Project. (2014). Djerap: Noongar birds. Batchelor, NT: Batchelor Press.

Kaartdijin Noongar – Noongar Knowledge. South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council.

Robertson, R et al (2017) Nyoongar Boodj Kooba Bardip Kooratan – Nyoongar Land Long Story Batchelor Press, Batchelor, NT.

Walley, T, Martin, C & B Martin (2013) Mardang Waakarl-ak. Dandjoo Moordyap Dabarkan Noongar Language Project. Batchelor Press, Batchelor, NT.