As Robert Miles, from Dudja Dreaming explains, rivers were pathways for travel, trade and communication for Noongar people

An ancient "river track" in the Toodyay area followed the Gugulja (Avon River) and its tributaries. The track continued north-east along Toodyay Brook and through to Balgaling lands, then across to Bejoording, and further on through to Wattening, joining other tracks across Yued country.   redbank1.jpg

The Gugulja, and its tributaries, has spiritual importance as a course travelled by the Wagyl.

Our Dreamtime story tells us that, during the cooler months, the Wagyl lives in springs at Boolegin (Bolgart) and frequents the rocky slopes nearby. Boolegin is a sacred place as the winter home of the Wagyl. 

During the hot season, the Wagyl makes its way from Boolegin through the hills, the valley, Toodyay Brook and Gugulja. and on to Burlong Pool upstream of Narrjuk (Northam) where it stays during the hot months in its summer home.

Our waterways contain our ancient stories and are integral to cultural life.


Waterways were important landmarks and central to Noongar seasonal movements. 

Waterways are integral to Dreamtime stories, ceremonies, and cultural practices, reflecting the deep connection between Noongar people and their ancestral lands.

Rivers served as natural meeting points where Noongar groups would come together for ceremonies and to share knowledge and stories, trade goods, and participate in cultural activities. Pathways and trade routes crisscrossed the cultural landscape.

Rivers also provided a vital source of fresh water for drinking, cooking and washing. They served as an abundant food resource, providing a diverse range of sustenance including fish, crustaceans, water birds and aquatic plants. 

These, along with land-based foods, sustained our physical needs and maintained our cultural connections to bilya boodja (river country).

To explore Toodyay’s Aboriginal heritage on a guided tour with Robert Miles of Dudja Dreaming, click here.

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