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Gnarla Boodja Mili Mili is designed to be a living document that can be updated and expanded overtime.

The map was compiled by the department and launched in partnership with the City of Perth. Its release coincides with the “International Year of Indigenous Languages”, which has been declared by the United Nationals General Assembly in order to encourage urgent action to preserve, revitalise and promote Indigenous languages.

Gnarla Boodja Mili Mili interactive map

Gnarla Boodja Mili Mili is an exciting initiative acknowledging the names of Noongar places throughout the Perth CBD area, also known as Boorlo or Burrell in the Noongar language. It is designed to be a living and interactive document that can be updated and added to with cultural knowledge overtime.

The map features just some of the many place names that have been passed down from one generation to the next. It identifies sites such as popular camping (kalla) and hunting grounds, natural landmarks and sacred places traditionally known to Noongar people as they moved amongst the lakes, coastal plain and hills of the Perth region, following the six Noongar seasons.

The knowledge for managing and respecting the land is a key component of Noongar lifeways. This knowledge is dictated through dreaming stories tied to country (such as the Waugyl’s tie to lore around waterways), oral traditions passed down from the Old People and the continued social connections maintained through community. The Waugyl is the giant rainbow snake of Noongar Dreaming (Nyitting) that created the present course of all rivers and waterways of the South West during his creation journey. The kalla (camping places) where the Waugyl rested at along his journey are sacred, with some of these kalla represented on this map today.

The map underlying the place names was prepared by the surveyor and explorer Alfred Hillman under the direction of the Surveyor-General. Issued in 1838, the map shows the proposed layout for the future city over the many wetlands and swamps that originally existed at the time of European contact.

Over time most of these swamps were drained and the land reclaimed to accommodate for an ever-expanding population and control of the waterways for modern infrastructure. Despite this changing landscape, Noongar people maintain a deep cultural and spiritual connection to the Perth region and a continuing responsibility as its Traditional Custodians.

Base map layer: Townsite of Perth in Western Australia 1838 Map, State Records Office of WA, Cons 3868, Item 288.

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Video production Gnarla Boodja Mili Mili acknowledgements

Students from Bibra Lake Primary School

Kylie Bracknell and Clint Bracknell

Video production:
Aboriginal Shows and Productions

Voice Over/Music:
Phil Walley-Stack

Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries Aboriginal History (WA)

Cultural Sensitivity message

Please be aware that this publication contains the names and images of deceased people. All readers are advised that the inclusion of words, terms or descriptions from historical records reflects the social attitudes of the period in which they were written.

The term ‘Noongar’ is used throughout this publication as a broad term encompassing multiple Noongar language groups. Due to the multiple dialects that exist, the spelling of place names and other language references varies from author to author. Differences in spelling may also exist due to Noongar languages traditionally being oral rather than written languages.

The department recognises that modern cartographic conventions are not directly or easily transferable into Noongar systems of naming and land use. Modern maps are set out in such a way as to imply that places have fixed names over time, whereas in Noongar culture any one place may be called several different names depending on the context in which they were being used. For the purpose of this publication, the following map identifies only one or two of the multiple names for Noongar places within the area of Perth.


Please be aware that this publication is not definitive and that discrepancies may exist for certain place names due to the inaccurate manner in which the information was originally documented. Readers are advised to carefully evaluate the accuracy, completeness and relevance of the publication for their own purposes.

The information gathered for this publication has been sourced from a range of historical and contemporary research including historical and contemporary anthropological research, historical archaeology, ethnographies, experimental archaeology, and both traditional and contemporary Aboriginal knowledge systems.

While all reasonable care has been taken in compiling this map, the department disclaims any liability for any errors or omissions in the publication.

Page reviewed 11 September 2023