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Maintaining Traditions

There were many Aboriginal people in the early days of European settlement and Perth Water formed the hub of a variety of routes linking the lakes and wetlands around Perth as well as more distant places. James Kennedy, born in Perth in 1848 recalled before his death in 1927:

"In those days the water-front, where the Esplanade is now, was a field of mud. I have seen natives there in dozens, spearing cobblers. The natives swarmed in Perth in those days. Most of them camped at the Third Swamp (now Hyde Park) and other camping places were at the Brandy Keg (near Mongers Lake), at the swamp on the present site of Mt Lawley Station, and at Dyson’s Swamp (Shenton Park). I have seen 300 camped at the Third Swamp at one time, waiting for a corroboree." [5]

Kennedy said he went:

"fishing and swimming and sky-larking in the water with the native boys and they used to come shooting with us. They were very good for this as they were clever stalkers."

Map of Perth, 1833. From Arrowsmith, Discoveries in WA (cartographic material). Battye Library [009459D]

The growth of the city soon hindered the free movement of Indigenous people across well worn tracks to and from the River in Perth and along the north side of the river to Fremantle or after crossing the River in the shallows near the Causeway, on to Canning and then further south.

Fanny Balbuk, a Noongar woman, was renowned for her dislike of any hindrance to her movements.

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Page last updated: Tuesday 23 November 2010 by Nick Cowie Asset ID 13014
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