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Smoking Ceremony Held at Galup to Acknowledge 1830 Massacre

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains the name of someone who has passed away. This name is used with permission.

Whadjuk Elder Aunty Glenda Kickett welcomed 80 community members at Galup / Lake Monger on Friday May 3 as part of a gathering to acknowledge the massacre that happened there in 1830.

Traditional Owners Ash Garlett Penfold and Ian Wilkes guided people through the smoking ceremony which aimed to bring people together for connection and healing. The event culminated with a Noongar song that Wilkes wrote to honour the people who lost their lives there.

“Galup is an important site for Whadjuk Noongar people and an area where our people camped” Ms Kickett said. “Not many people know about the massacre that took place there. We are at a point as a nation to really start to acknowledge First Nations peoples and the histories of colonisation and dispossession. That acknowledgement is an important part of healing.”

Amongst the attendees were Town of Cambridge Mayor Gary Mack, Cr Carr, Cr Cutler and CEO Gary Tuffin along with politicians Kate Chaney MP, Christine Tonkin MLA and Pierre Yang MLC. The event was supported by local not-for-profit groups Same Drum, Friends of Galup / Lake Monger, West Leederville Flower District and Reconciliation WA.

Image credit: 1. Community members gather at Galup for smoking ceremony. Photography by Dan Grant | 2. Aunty Glenda Kickett welcomes the group to Whadjuk Noongar Boodja. Photography by Steve Worner | 3. Ben Taylor, Jayden Boundary, Simon Zuvich, Sam Pilot Kickett, Jade Cameron, Jade Dolman, Glenda Kickett, Ian Wilkes, Poppy van Oorde-Grainger, Ash Garlett Penfold. Photography by Dan Grant | 3. Ash Garlett Penfold playing yidaki at Galup. Photography by Steve Worner | 4. ART ON THE MOVE Executive Director Ricky Arnold with Denien Toomath and Andrew Meredith from the State Library of WA. Photography by Dan Grant. All images courtesy of Same Drum.

The speakers made a call for the community to support restoring the area’s traditional Noongar name Galup, meaning ‘place of home fires’, and building a memorial there to remember the massacre. They also requested more information be displayed at the lake about the cultural significance of the area which is a Registered Aboriginal Heritage Site.

The advocacy group included artists Ian Wilkes and Poppy van Oorde-Grainger who told stories of Galup in two major arts projects including an oral history from Elder Doolann- Leisha Eatts about the colonial massacre at the lake on 3rd May 1830. The team created the Galup performance (Perth Festival 2021) and the Galup VR Experience (WA Museum 2022) and said the memorial and restored name would be a fitting outcome of the truth telling process that has gained momentum through the arts projects.

The Town of Cambridge recognises the significance of Galup / Lake Monger to the Whadjuk Noongar people and is finalising the Lake Monger (Galup) Management Plan 2024-34 in consultation with Whadjuk Traditional Owners.

The plan includes honouring the area’s Whadjuk Noongar heritage over the coming decade and acknowledging the 1830 massacre. Discussions include restoring the area’s Whadjuk Noongar name and building a memorial to show respect to affected families and communities.

“We anticipate public consultation on the plan’s recommendations soon, ensuring Galup / Lake Monger is acknowledged as a place of cultural significance and reconciliation,” said Mayor Gary Mack.

For more information visit galuptruth.com or book in to watch the Galup VR Experience at State Library of WA on May 31 – June 1 via slwa.wa.gov.au/whats-on/galup-vr-experience

Galup VR Experience is touring regional WA with ART ON THE MOVE and Same Drum until 2025. For more information, visit artonthemove.art/exhibition/galup-vr-experience

This news article was written by Same Drum.