Mooro country is that part of the Noongar country that follows a string of lakes through the western and northern suburbs of Perth and beyond to the Moore River. This afternoon a group of us met with the Northern Suburbs Reconciliation Group and took a bus tour through some of this wetland area, visiting places of significance under the guidance of a local Elder. In pre-colonial times the area was alive with indigenous commerce. As well as bearing a plentiful supply of food and providing hospitable space for camping, corroboree and storytelling, these were meeting places where inland clans and tribal groups could trade commodities with the coastal people. Some of this function continued way past European settlement, and in spite of decimation experienced under attempts by colonisers to move Aborigines from nomadic to agricultural lifestyles.
To visit familiar landmarks, even a shopping centre carpark, and have pointed out to us the former culture’s significant places, a memorial stone here, a clump of scar bearing trees there, a main road where bitumen covered a thousands of years old walking track,was like twisting a kaleidoscope to see the layers of ancient folklore beneath the veneer of western suburbia.
Mooro country is not well known. It is only recently that its history has begun to be recorded in written form. The stories have been passed on orally – mouth to ear, mouth to ear, amongst the generations of those who are descendants of those who fished, hunted and traded along the waterways in this area. It was humbling and enlightening to hear some of those stories and visit some of those places today