Inviting the Beeliar Mob to speak up

The regeneration of Roe 8 is underway, following the controversial clearing works last year, and the spring shoots betoken hope with the rehabilitation project bringing together residents, scientists, government and custodians to work towards a unified vision.

The Rehabilitating Roe 8 Steering Committee is developing a 10-year management plan to rehabilitate the area with elders of the Beeliar Mob consulting on cultural matters and the Perth Urban Restoration Scientific Advisory Committee providing the science behind the restoration.

In line with our Reconciliation Action Plan, we joined a few members of the Beeliar Mob at Bibra Lake last Wednesday for a barbeque and yarn to learn about the area and understand what the project team need to consider to preserve and treasure the cultural significance of the land.

According to the Elders the area is, in modern terms, a cathedral, a university, and a parliament house. The area is also a birthing place, a cemetery and a place not just for the Beeliar people with Mobs from across the Canning River down to Pinjarra and even as far as Kalgoorlie congregating over millennia for ceremony, discussions and celebrations.

At the beginning of the year a team of archaeologists from the centre for rock art research and management at the University of Western Australia and members of the Aboriginal community carried out a series of 1m excavations uncovering quartz crystals, granite and chert — remains of grinding stones or cutting tools—which dated up to 33,000 years old, making the site one of the oldest on the Swan Coastal Plain.

The area also includes a number of interwoven ecosystems spanning over 26 lakes and 3400 hectares of land, providing an ongoing habitat for 220 plant species and 123 bird species, including the endangered Carnaby’s Cockatoo and migratory bird species which convene along the Swan Coastal Plain.

The ideas and visions were varied but the common thread throughout the discussions was that the Beeliar Mob have a sanctity to the land and a repository of knowledge which we believe is key to effectively create a plan with project developers to benefit us all as a community.