Find books, maps, photographs, oral histories, ephemera and local newspaper clippings which provide insight into the interesting and unique background of our City.
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2023 Local History Awards
Kalamunda Library is holding the inaugural Local History Award in 2023. The City is encouraging the community involvement in recording and promoting the rich history of the City of Kalamunda for future generations.Entries closed on Tuesday, 31 January 2023.
Find out more here
Of the fourteen *Noongar language groups, the people who live in the Perth region are known as the Whadjuk people. The Canning River is the border between
the two Whadjuk clans, the Bilya (Beeliar) and Beeloo (Beelu) people. The land south of the Swan River and west of the Canning River to the coast is known as Bilya (Beeliar). The land east of the Canning River to the Helena River is Beeloo land. The
Youran (bobtail lizard) is the totem animal for the Bilya people; and the Nyingarn (echidna) is the totem animal for the Beeloo people. The Beeloo people hunted tortoises in the wetlands (Mundy Swamp), carrying them to higher ground in the east for
cooking and eating.
During the early days of settlement, Mundy (Munday) (pronounced mun-dee) was one of the most important and successful negotiators for the Whadjuk community. The name can be recognised in Mundy Regional Park and Mundy Swamp, a wetland located against the
north-eastern perimeter fence of Perth airport, south-west of King road and west of the Forrestfield and Kewdale railway yards.
In 1827 the Colonial Botanist Mr Charles Fraser and Captain James Stirling explored the region to evaluate its suitability for farming. Initially the area was used for forestry and orchards; fruit growing continues to be one of the major industries in
the City today. The Townsite of Kalamunda was approved in 1902 and quickly established itself as a tourism destination. Advertised as a ‘health resort’, City folk would travel to Kalamunda to experience nature, fresh air and a change of
climate. This rich heritage now provides a range of
historical and cultural attractions
*Noongar is the general name for Aboriginal people in the south-west of Western Australia.
This artwork illustrates some of the stories about native flora and fauna, as well as the stories of Maamba and Joobaitch.
LISTEN TO AUDIO STORY
A native reserve at Maamba at the foot of the Darling Scarp was established by Premier John Forrest in 1899 in an effort to care for derelict Aborigines.
It was developed as a small scale agricultural settlement for local Aboriginals. It was in the present-day Forrestfield/Wattle Grove area including what is now Hartfield Park. At the end of 1903, the chief Protector of Aborigines, Henry Prinsep
decided to make this Welshpool Reserve a ration depot. Prinsep insisted all Aboriginal people in the metropolitan area should be moved to the reserve, along with a European caretaker. Despite protests Aboriginals from Guildford,
Perth, Helena Valley, Gingin, Northam, York, Beverley, Busselton and Pinjarra were moved there.
Daisy Bates visited the area in 1905, pitching her tent and talked with the Aborigines over a period of time whilst living there. Prior to the formation of the reserve, the area had been a place where many Aboriginal tracks crossed in the
sandy foothills where travel was easier than in the hills. A “scarred tree” which has now been fenced off in Hartfield Park, is thought to have been used to produce bark which would have been used to create shield and
coolamons (dish-shaped utensils used to carry food or even a baby).
Charles Harrington, a ‘travelling missionary’ arrived in WA in December 1907. At the request of the Chief Protector, Charles Gale, from 1908 to 1909 the Aborigines’ Inland Mission took over the running of Welshpool
(Maamba) Reserve which had been established by the government in 1902.
Joobaitch of the kangaroo tribe of Perth, a Wordungmat or dark-type crowman, had been born in Stirling’s time, and was the son of that Yalgunga who ceded his spring on the banks of the Swan to Lieutenant Irwin. Joobaitch, was, a protege of Bishop
Hale and at one time a native trooper.
Listen to Aboriginal Elder, Neville Collard, walk and talk you through the Lesmurdie walk trail. Starting from the top level car park which is located off Falls Road in Kalamunda, Neville highlights local flora and fauna. viewpoints and other land
by Aurora AbrahamSix Season information sourced via bom.gov.au/iwk/nyoongar
The six Nyoongar seasons that you'll experience in the south-west of Western Australia are:
First summer (season of the young)December - January
Birak season sees the rains ease up and the warm weather really start to take hold. The afternoons are cooled by the sea breezes that abound from the southwest. This was the fire season, a time to burn the country in mosaic patterns.
An almost clockwork style of easterly winds in the morning and sea breezes in the afternoon, meant that traditionally this was the burning time of year for Nyoongars. They would burn the country in mosaic patterns for several reasons including fuel reduction,
increasing the grazing pastures for some animals, to aid in seed germination for some plants and for ease of mobility across the country.
As for the animals, there are many fledglings now venturing out of nests, though some are still staying close to their parents. Reptiles are looking to shed their old skin for a new one.
With the rising temperatures and the decreasing rainfall, it’s also time for the baby frogs to complete their transformation into adulthood.
Find out more the season via: bom.gov.au/iwk/nyoongar/djeran.shtml
Second summer (season of the adolescence)
February - March
Bunuru is the hottest time of the year with little to no rain. Hot easterly winds continue with a cooling sea breeze most afternoons if you’re close to the coast. Therefore, traditionally this was, and still is, a great time for living and fishing
by the coast, rivers and estuaries. Because of this, freshwater foods and seafood made up major parts of the diet during this time of year.
Bunuru is also a time of the white flowers with lots of white flowering gums in full bloom, including Jarrah, Marri and Ghost Gums.
Another striking flower that is hard to go past is the female Zamia (Macrozamia riedlei). Being much larger than that of its male counterpart, the huge cones emerge from the centre of the plant with masses of a cotton wool like substance. As the hot,
dry weather continues the seed upon the cones change from green to bright red, indicating they’re ripening and becoming more attractive to animals, particularly the emu, that will eat the toxic fleshy outer
Find out more the season via: bom.gov.au/iwk/nyoongar/bunuru.shtml
Ant season (season of the adulthood)April - May
Djeran season at last sees a break in the really hot weather. A key indicator of the change of season is the cool nights that once again bring a dewy presence for us to discover in the early mornings.
The winds have also changed, especially in their intensity, with light breezes being the go and generally swinging from southerly directions (i.e. south east to south west). Many flying ants can be seen cruising around in the light winds.
Djeran is a time of red flowers especially from the Red Flowering Gum (Corimbia ficifolia), as well as the smaller and more petite flowers of the Summer Flame (Beaufortia aestiva). As you travel around the Perth area, you may also notice the red ‘rust’
and seed cones forming on the male and female Sheoaks (Allocasuarina fraseriana). Banksias start to display their flowers, ensuring that there are nectar food sources for the many small mammals and birds that rely upon them.
Traditionally, foods at this time of year included the seeds that had been collected and stored for treatment from the Zamia last season along with the root bulbs of the Yanget (Bullrushes), fresh water fish, frogs and turtles.
As the season progresses, the nights will become cooler and damper along with some cool and rainy days which also means that traditionally mia mias (houses or shelters) were now repaired and updated to make sure they were waterproofed and facing in the
right direction in readiness for the deep wintery months to come
Cold and wet time of the year
(fertility season) June - July
Makaru sees the coldest and wettest time of the year come into full swing.
Traditionally, this was a good time of the year to move back inland from the coast
as the winds turned to the west and south bringing the cold weather, rains and
occasionally snow on the peaks of the Stirling and Porongurup Ranges.
As the waterways and catchments started to fill, people were able to move about
their country with ease and thus their food sources changed from sea, estuarine
and lake foods to those of the lands in particular the grazing animals such as the
kangaroo. As well as a food source, animals provided people with many other
things. For example, ‘Yongar’ or kangaroos not only provided meat but also ‘bookas’
(animal skin cloaks that were used as the nights became much cooler). Nothing was
left; even the bones and sinews were used in the manufacturing of bookas and for
hunting tools such as spears.
Makuru is also a time for a lot of animals to be pairing up in preparation for breeding
in the coming season. If you look carefully, you might now see pairs of ‘Wardongs’
(ravens) flying together. You also notice these pairs not making the usual ‘ark ark
arrrrrk’ that these birds are well known for when flying solo. Upon the lakes and rivers
of the South West, you’ll also start to see a large influx of the Black Swan or ‘Mali’ as
they too prepare to nest and breed.
Flowers that will start to emerge include the blues and purples of the Blueberry
Lilly (Dianella revoluta) and the Purple Flags (Patersonia occidentalis). As the season
comes to a close, you should also start to notice the white flowers of the weeping
peppermint (Agonis flexuosa) as the blues start to make way for the white and cream
flowers of Djilba
Find out more the season via: www.bom.gov.au/iwk/nyoongar/makuru.shtml
Growing season (season of conception) August - September
Djilba season is a time to look for the yellow and cream flowers starting on mass.
Djilba is a transitional time of the year, with some very cold and clear days combining with warmer, rainy and windy days mixing with the occasional sunny day or two.
This is the start of the massive flowering explosion that happens in the South West. This starts with the yellow flowering plants such as the Acacias. Also colours that are around at this time of year are creams, combined with some vivid and striking
blues. Traditionally, the main food sources included many of the land based grazing animals as in the season before. These included the Yongar (kangaroo), the Waitj (emu) and the Koomal (possum).
As the days start to warm up, we start to see and hear the first of the new borns with their proud parent out and about providing them food, guiding them through foraging tasks and protecting their family units from much bigger animals, including people.
The woodland birds will still be nest bound, hence the swooping protective behavior of the Koolbardi (Magpie) starts to ramp up and if watched closely, so to do the Djidi Djidi (Willy Wag Tails) and the Chuck-a-luck (Wattle Birds) to name a couple of
As the season progresses and the temperatures continue to rise, we’ll start to see the flower stalks of the Balgas (Grass Trees) emerging in preparation for the coming Kambarang season.
Find out more the season via: bom.gov.au/iwk/nyoongar/djilba.shtml
Wildflower season (season of birth) October - November
During the Kambarang season, we see an abundance of colours and flowers
exploding all around us. The yellows of many of the Acacias continue to abound,
along with some of the Banksias and many other smaller delicate flowering plants
including the Kangaroo Paw and Orchids. Also during this time the Balgas will also
start to flower, especially if they’ve been burnt in the past year or closely shaved.
One of the most striking displays of flowers to be seen during this season will be the
“Mooja”, or Australian Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda). The bright orang/yellow
flowers serve to signal the heat is on its way.
For the animals, October is also the most likely time of the year that you’ll encounter
a snake as the reptiles start to awaken from their hibernation and look to make the
most of the warm to assist them in getting enough energy to look for food. It’s also
a time that many young families of birds will be singing out for their parents to feed
them. Koolbardies (Magpies) will also be out protecting their nests and their babies.
Many things are undergoing transformation with the warm change in the weather.
Longer dry periods accompany a definite warming trend.
Find out more the season via: bom.gov.au/iwk/nyoongar/kambarang.shtml
The City of Kalamunda Local History Collection was established in 1984 with the help of the Kalamunda and Districts Historical Society. A collection of historic records were established as useful for research purposes and general interest.
The Local History Collection provides information about Kalamunda, Lesmurdie, Forrestfield, Wattle Grove, High Wycombe, Maida Vale, Pickering Brook and neighbouring suburbs and localities within the City of Kalamunda. This collection is housed at Kalamunda
The collection is a valuable repository containing information on the development, society and culture of the City, including the people, places and events that have shaped the history of the region. Types of material include books, pamphlets, diaries,
letters, local government archives, maps, photographs, oral histories, ephemera and local newspaper clippings of articles of a biographical nature and of relevance to the City of Kalamunda.
View Local History Collection current ePublications
An online collection of historic images.
Photographs of local people, places and events viewable online. The City of Kalamunda Local History Pictorial Collection is incorporated in the City of Kalamunda Library Services Online Catalogue. Select ‘Local History Collection’ in the Home search targets dropdown. Enter
a search term or select SEARCH to explore the collection.
A collaborative project with the aim of highlighting local history collections.
Oral Histories are available thanks to the efforts of the Bill Shaw Oral History Group.
Enquiries should be directed to the Kalamunda Library front desk during Opening Hours. Alternatively,
you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If extensive help is required to research the collection, please make an appointment with the Local History Librarian via telephone on (08) 9257 9852
Follow us on the Kalamunda Libraries Facebook Page where images are selected from our Local History Collection and shared
along with known details about the image. These posts highlight our wonderful collection and stories of our area.
Search the library edition of this genealogical site for free at all public computers throughout the City of Kalamunda Libraries.
Visit the WA Genealogical Society’s website to find out about the society’s products and services and view links to all Local Studies Centres in the metropolitan area
Located in the Armadale Public Library, the Birtwistle Local Studies Collection focuses on the history of the Armadale-Kelmscott area, which borders and at times overlaps the area of interest of our collection.
The WA Heritage Database lists the State Register of Heritage Places as well as those on local government heritage inventories, Commonwealth heritage lists and places classified by the National Trust.
Located in the WA Folklore Archive, this site offers access to a variety of items and information about the City of Kalamunda’s ‘Foothills Connection’ Community Heritage project.
The Pickering Brook Heritage Group captures, preserves and records the history of the Pickering Brook district.
The J.S. Battye Library at the State Library of WA holds a large collection of material relating to WA.
The Royal Historical Society of WA collects and preserves the history of Western Australia and has an extensive reference library and photographic collection.
Australia's pre-eminent dictionary of national biography. Find concise, informative and fascinating descriptions of the lives of significant and representative persons in Australian history.
Trove is a fantastic search engine giving access to millions of items in Australian collections. Simply by searching for ‘Kalamunda’ you will find many relevant images, newspaper articles and maps.
The WA Post Office Directories are an invaluable source of information for anyone who is doing family history or research on Western Australia during the period 1893-1949.
Carnamah is a town and farming community 300 kilometres north of Perth in the Mid-West region of Western Australia. The Carnamah Historical Society & Museum was founded in 1983 to collect, record, preserve and promote local history.
In addition to holding more than 100 years of Australian Government records, the National Archives is a great place to research your family history. Search war service records if your family members served in the Australian Armed Forces. Immigration records of those who migrated to Australia in the 20th century are also available.
We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Whadjuk Noongar People as the Custodians of this land. We also pay respect to all Aboriginal community Elders, past, present and future who have and continue to reside in the area and have been an integral part of the history of this region.