As the school year drew to a close in 2022, the South Coast NRM Noongar Kaartdijin (knowledge) program supported an inaugural Fish Traps excursion with students from North Albany Senior High (NASHS).
The program supported Cultural awareness and heritage sessions with a group of NASHS Year 7’s. Vernice Gillies – Noongar Elder, and Larry Blight – Noongar educator (both from Kurrah Mia Tours) welcomed 128 students over three separate sessions to the Oyster Harbour Fish Traps.
In the shelter at the Fish Traps, Larry gave a touching opening welcoming the groups in Noongar language to his home fire, to share laughter, love and learning. Larry talked about the significance of the historic displays of fish in the shelter that were illustrated by Robert Neill consulting with local Noongars in 1840s.
Mrs Gillies led students along the Fish Traps boardwalk, sharing information on the engineering, function and protection of the traps along with the Cultural significance of the site.
Larry and Mrs Gillies guided eager students to safely try bush foods that grow around the reserve. Students learnt that fish would have been preserved with the salty samphire leaves in a recently discovered stone oven and traded with other Aboriginal groups.
NASHS is hoping to continue the experience of the Oyster Harbour Fish Traps as an annual excursion for Year 7 students to set the scene for many aspects of their high school curriculum.
The Noongar Kaartdijin (knowledge) program is supported by funding from the Western Australia’s State Natural Resource Management Program WA and Commonwealth Bank to extend In-school Cultural awareness throughout the region.
For more information contact Natalie Reeves, Noongar Kaartdijin Project Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org