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Island country: aboriginal connections, values and knowledge of the Western Australian Kimberley islands in the context of an Island Biological Survey

  • Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation
Island country: Aboriginal connections,
values and knowledge of the Western
Australian Kimberley islands in the context
of an island biological survey
T. Vigilante1, J. Toohey1, A. Gorring1*, V. Blundell2,
T. Saunders3, S. Mangolamara4, K. George1, J. Oobagooma5,
M. Waina6, K. Morgan6 and K. Doohan7
1 Kimberley Land Council, PO Box 2145, Broome, Western Australia 6725, Australia.
2 Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa,
Ontario K1S 5B6, Canada.
3 PO Box 10, Derby, Western Australia 6728, Australia.
4 Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation, PMB 16, Kalumburu via Wyndham,
Western Australia 6740, Australia.
5 Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation, PO Box 648, Derby, Western Australia 6728, Australia.
6 Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation, c/- Kimberley Land Council, PO Box 821, Kununurra,
Western Australia 6743, Australia.
7 PO Box 5404, Albany, Western Australia 6330, Australia.
*Corresponding author:
ABSTRACT – Our paper describes Aboriginal connections, values and knowledge of the Kimberley
islands and their resources in the context of a terrestrial biological survey of 24 islands, initiated by the
Western Australian Government and coordinated by the Department of Environment and Conservation
(DEC). The Kimberley islands represent part of the traditional lands of Aboriginal people in the region
and hold great signifi cance and value for them. The Kimberley Land Council (KLC) facilitated the
participation of 50 Aboriginal Traditional Owners in this survey, which spanned fi ve Native Title areas,
three of which have now been determined (Bardi and Jawi, Wanjina Wunggurr Dambimangari and
Wanjina Wunggurr Uunguu) and two of which are still in mediation (Balanggarra and Mayala). The KLC
and DEC negotiated a research agreement that provided for managed access to sensitive cultural sites,
data sharing, the participation of Traditional Owners in fi eld work alongside scientists and input by
Traditional Owners in the fi nal publications and recommendations resulting from this survey.
Our paper also places the island survey and its fi ndings into the broader context of Indigenous
Natural and Cultural Resource Management (INCRM) in the Kimberley region, including the
development of Indigenous Protected Areas and Indigenous Rangers, and other projects such as fi re
abatement and tourism management, along with traditional management practices which operate
independently from formal management programs.
KEYWORDS: Balanggarra, Bardi and Jawi, Dambimangari, Mayala, Traditional Owner, Unnguu,
Wanjina Wunggurr
145–182 (2013) DOI: 10.18195/issn.0313-122 x.81.2 013.145-182
146 T. Vigilante et al.
The numerous islands and surrounding waters
of the north-west Kimberley have been used and
occupied by Aboriginal people for thousands of
years. This use and occupation has included active
and passive management of valuable resources.
For the Traditional Owners (TOs) of these islands
they are places which represent complex entities of
cultural and ecological values; for instance, islands
are rarely known by a single name. Instead, they
have layered meanings of cultural signi cance.
Complex relationships of caretaking and naming
have continued into the present period despite
signi cant geographic and mobility constraints.
The islands are covered by several contiguous
native title determinations (which recognise
private property rights of Aboriginal people in the
islands and the seas) and claims. Tenure includes
exclusive and non-exclusive possession native title,
Aboriginal Reserves and unallocated Crown land.
The islands are components of Indigenous
cultural landscapes and seascapes that are of
enormous signi cance to TOs. As such, islands
are elements of the complex enculturated space
which Kimberley TOs call their ‘saltwater country’.
As such, they include many specific sites that
are focal points in the naming of islands, in local
and regional religious narratives, for ceremonial
practices and other cultural activities. The islands
also have important freshwater, plant and animal
resources. In recent times, TOs have undertaken
natural and cultural resource management projects
and programs aimed at identifying and managing
the values and resources in their traditional
country, including islands. The natural and
Indigenous cultural values of the islands have also
been recognised in the recent listing of the West
Kimberley on the National Heritage List under the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation
Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) (Australian Heritage
Commission [AHC] 2011).
The Kimberley Islands Biodiversity Survey
(KIBS) was developed by the Western Australian
Department of Environment and Conservation
(DEC). The impetus for the survey was the need
to obtain baseline information on the biodiversity
values of the islands for future management
planning (Gibson and McKenzie 2012). The
Kimberley islands are of high conservation
value, containing many endemic and threatened
species which are, to some extent, protected from
threatening processes prevalent on the mainland.
The KIBS project demonstrated best practice for
involving TOs in a research partnership. The KLC
and DEC negotiated a research agreement that
provided for managed access to sensitive cultural
sites, data sharing, the participation of TOs in  eld
work alongside scientists, and input by TOs into the
nal publications and recommendations resulting
from this survey. The KLC is the Native Title
Representative Body for the Kimberley and also
supports native title groups in natural and cultural
resource management through its Land and Sea
Management Unit.
Gibson and McKenzie (2012) provide a detailed
outline of the context, objectives and approach
of the KIBS. This paper aims to provide an
overview of TO connections, knowledge, values
and management plans for Kimberley islands
to complement other publications arising from
the KIBS project. It is organised into four major
sections. The  rst section describes the methods
and approach employed in this project. The
second section discusses the territories as well as
the cultural and linguistic characteristics of the
Aboriginal people connected to islands in the
surveyed area. Colonial impacts on their cultures
and relevant aspects of native title and land tenure
are also discussed. Section three addresses issues
regarding Indigenous natural and cultural resource
management, including the nature of Aboriginal
occupation and knowledge of islands as well as
Indigenous values associated with islands. The
nal section considers issues regarding the future
management of islands.
For research projects to be truly collaborative
TO groups need to be involved at the project
development stage so that they share the research
agenda and concept. In the case of the KIBS, the
State had already developed a project proposal
in order to secure funding from Commonwealth
and State Governments. In this case, the KLC
(acting under TO instruction) agreed to negotiate a
research agreement with DEC prior to the research
commencing. In the past, there has been little or no
impetus for State Government agencies to engage
with Kimberley TOs in biological survey work
although there are records indicating that TOs
have attempted to secure a role in these processes
(Johnston and Tann 1991). Earlier biological
surveys in the region, including an earlier survey
of islands of the Bonaparte Archipelago (Burbidge
and McKenzie 1978), did not involve TOs, with
one notable exception. This was the Kimberley
Rainforest Survey (McKenzie et al. 1991) which
provides a precedent for TO participation in
biological survey work. Here, the project leaders
invited a senior Wunambal elder, Geoffrey
Mangglamara, to join the  eld team and co-write
a paper on indigenous knowledge of rainforests
(Mangglamarra et al. 1991). There are also other
precedents from elsewhere in the state (Pearson and
the Ngaanyatjarra Council 1997; Brennan 2012).
The research agreement for the KIBS set a new
standard for collaborative research with TOs in
the North Kimberley. It included a number of
important provisions, such as the following:
Field teams were accompanied by TOs to ensure
cultural heritage could be protected.
In accordance with Aboriginal law and culture,
visitors needed to be welcomed to country
by TOs, and often this required some form of
ceremony such as a smoking ceremony.
TO participation in the field teams ensured
that TOs could impart relevant local and
traditional ecological knowledge to the team and
also that TOs gained valuable new skills and
knowledge from the non-indigenous scienti c
team members (including some of the State’s
leading biologists).
The research agreement also required that data
would be provided to the KLC at the end of the
project. It also made provisions for the KLC to
review and contribute to nal publications to
ensure that the interests of TOs are considered.
Since the signing of this agreement, the KLC
has established a research and ethics committee
and developed a policy to guide future research
projects that relate to TOs and their land and
sea interests (
The general KIBS methods have been outlined by
Gibson and McKenzie (2012). The survey involved
sampling of 24 islands over three years with both
dry season and wet season surveys. Sampling
targeted mammals, reptiles, frogs, land snails,
birds and vascular plants. Prior to the  eld work,
DEC staff provided KLC with maps and satellite
images of proposed  eld sites. Based on these maps
and images, senior TOs advised if there were any
cultural heritage issues that would make these
sites unsuitable for access. In some instances TOs
also joined DEC staff in a  y-over of some of the
proposed sites. This desktop approach to cultural
heritage site identification is not ideal as some
Indigenous people are not familiar with using
maps, and small islands within archipelagos can be
dif cult to recognise from maps. However, funds
did not allow for on-ground site visits prior to the
Each  eld team included one or two TOs. These
TOs were selected by the relevant native title
group and were people with connections to the
speci c islands or broader country within which
the island was located. Over the three years of the
project 50 TOs took part in  eld work. Their names
are compiled in Appendix A (see also Appendix
A in Gibson and McKenzie 2012). Traditional
Owners played a number of roles on the field
team. On arrival at the site, they were asked to
provide an initial heritage site clearance to make
sure that any sensitive cultural sites in the area
had not been missed in the desktop approach.
It was also important to ensure that activities
did not disturb cultural heritage sites. Some
signi cant stone arrangements were recorded at a
number of sites and were documented for future
reference. Traditional Owners were also required
to participate in the  eld work with the scienti c
team. The level of experience and knowledge
varied widely among TO participants. Some
older people had grown up ‘on country’ and were
knowledgeable about various animals and plants,
while others who were young and had grown
up ‘in town’ were less knowledgeable. For many
younger participants this was their  rst time on
the surveyed island and it was therefore a valuable
experience for them.
Following the  eld program, some TO participants
were interviewed using semi-structured interviews
to document their experiences of the survey and,
where possible, photographs and cultural site data
were also compiled from  eld teams.
This paper draws on information contained
in both published and unpublished sources.
Published sources are cited throughout the text.
Other information derives from semi-structured
interviews that were recorded by the authors of
this paper with Aboriginal elders from various
Aboriginal language groups associated with
the KIBS (including members of the Angus
and Stumpagee families, Daphne Wilfred, Janet
Oobagooma, Victor Barunga , Jack Karadada,
Basil Djanghara, Sylvester Mangolomara, Sylvia
Djanghara, Matthew Waina, Mary Taylor, Lionel
Mitchell, George Dixon and Selwin Meehan), and
with Aboriginal  eld participants in the KIBS (as
named in Appendix A). Statements attributed
to Aboriginal people are indicated and credited
throughout the text. This paper also draws on
data from earlier unpublished research and from
personal communications with TOs. Notes from
field trips undertaken by the Kimberley Land
Council with Mayala TOs as part of the North
Kimberley Saltwater Country Project also provided
some source material.
148 T. Vigilante et al.
The islands sampled during the KIBS are
located across the Traditional Countries of several
Aboriginal territorial groups. Historically, these
groups have been referred to by anthropologists
as ‘tribes’ (Tindale 1940, 1974) and more precisely
as ‘language groups’ (Blundell and Woolagoodja
2005; Kimberley Land Council [KLC] 2010; AHC
2011). For Kimberley Aboriginal people, language
is a part of their country, and a group’s name and
the language of its overall territory are usually the
same or similar (McGregor 2004). In some cases,
several Kimberley language groups comprise
larger Aboriginal societies, referred to asnative
title communities’ in native title materials (see
below). Society members generally intermarry
and they share beliefs and practices that set them
apart from other Kimberley Aboriginal societies.
Within the overall country of a particular language
group, individuals are members of descent groups
sometimes calledclans, and as such they are
connected to smaller areas of land called ‘clan
estates’ by anthropologists, or ‘my country’ by TOs
themselves. Each language group has its own term
for these estates, such as dambeema (Worrorra),
guraa (Wunambal and Gaambera), kûraa (Pelaa),
and booroo (Bardi). Typically, each person has a
primary connection to the estate of their father,
with associated rights and duties. Individuals also
have strong connections, with associated rights and
duties, to the estates of their other close kin.
In recent years, Aboriginal people have formally
de ned themselves in terms of native title groups
for the purpose of securing recognition of legal
title through the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). Native
title groups are often composed of one or more
language group whose members comprise a
distinct Aboriginal society as well as a single native
title community (Table 1, Figure 1).
FIGURE 1 Map of coastal language families, languages, language groups and native title groups covering the
Kimberley Island Biodiversity Survey area.
Native Title Group Language name
LANGUAGE FAMILY Offi cial Place Name Language Place Name
Dambimangari Umiida/Umiide
Un-named island in Talbot Bay
(called NW Molema by KIBS)
Wulalam Wulalam
King sher Muludb/Mulugudba
Worrorra Storr Yuwadan/Yeewadan Ganjal
Un-named island near Storr
(called Un-named by KIBS)
Heywood Island Group
(Jungulu/Darcy sampled by KIBS)
Byam Martin Miya/Meeyaa Jarra
Augustus Wurrulgu/Wurroolgu
Uwins Marrgalarlg
St Andrew Gumalamala
St George Basin including St Andrew Island Nyallingarni
Champagny (short wet season visit) Nimenba
TABLE 1 A list of language names for islands in the Kimberley Island Biodiversity Survey. Note that the island names provided here were compiled for the purpose of this
publication and may not be the only names by which these islands are referred to by different Aboriginal individuals and cultural groups. Orthography conventions
vary between language groups and in some cases have not been fi nalised within groups. For that reason there may be some inconsistencies in this table. In some
cases two alternative spellings are provided for the same name. The names of some islands in Bardi and Jawi languages are published in Aklif (1999).
150 T. Vigilante et al.
Uunguu Wunambal
Coronation Garlinju
Boongaree Wunandarra
Bigge Wuyurru
Katers Wung-gaarindjii/Wunggaarindjii
Middle Osborn Ngurraali
South West Osborn Umpatayi/Umbadayi
Un-named island
at Cape Bougainville
(called Wargul Wargul by KIBS)
Wargul Wargul
Mary Garrlala
Balanggarra Kwini/Belaa
Sir Graham Moore Niiwalarra
Forrest River language
Adolphus Jirritmirii/Jirridmirii
Mayala Ugarrang/Unggarranggi
& Umiide/Umiida
Hidden Banggoon
Lachlan Ooloogija
Long Oonggaliyan
Bardi and Jawi Jawi/Jaawi
Sunday Iwany
Native Title Group Language name
LANGUAGE FAMILY Offi cial Place Name Language Place Name
The Wanjina Wunggurr native title community
covers most of the North Kimberley with their
overall territory consisting of the Wilinggin,
Uunguu and Dambimangari native title
determination areas. Members of the Wanjina
Wunggurr community share a law and culture
derived from Wanjina and Wunggurr ancestral
beings (described below). Within the overall
Wanjina Wunggurr community, the Wunambal
and Gaambera language groups and the Wunambal
and Gaamberra languages are associated with the
Uunguu determination area, while the Worrorra
language group and the Worrorra language are
associated with the Dambimangari determination
area. There are also Wanjina Wunggurr people who
are the TOs of islands and adjoining waters in the
Dambimangari native title area associated with the
Yawijibaya, Winjarrumi, Umiida and Unggarrangi
languages, which are no longer spoken but were
closely related to Worrorra. Members of the
Dambimangari and Uunguu native title groups
have strong connections to islands which form part
of their traditional country. The Wanjina Wunggurr
native title community also predominately includes
the Ngarinyin language group associated with the
Ngarinyin (also known as Ungarinyin) language,
and whose Wilinggin native title claim area lies
inland from the coast.
The Balanggarra Native Title claim area stretches
from Napier Broome Bay to Cambridge Gulf and
Wyndham town. TOs associated with the Belaa
(also known as Kwini) and Yeiji language groups
and the Argna, Arawari, Gular and Guragona
‘tribes’ among others are connected to this country
with a distinctive set of local laws and customs
(Kaberry 1934, 1935a, 1935b; Ben Ward & Ors
v. Western Australia & Ors [1998] FCA 1478 [24
November 1998]). The Bardi and Jawi native title
community includes the Bardi language group
from the tip of the Dampier Peninsula and the
Jawi from Sunday Island and other neighbouring
islands. The Mayala native title claim covers many
of the islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago and
Sunday Strait.
The 24 islands in the KIBS cover the country
of some 10 language groups. The majority of the
languages in the North Kimberley area belong
to a distinct Australian language family, the
Worrorran. All of these languages are derived from
an ancestral language called a proto-language, a
single language source (see McGregor and Rumsey
2009). One of the typological characteristics of this
family is that its languages have several (four or
more) gender terms or noun classes. Jawi belongs
to the Nyulnyulan language family together with
Bardi and other languages found predominantly on
the adjacent Dampier Peninsula and adjacent lower
Fitzroy River catchment. These languages have no
gender or noun classes.
Bardi and Jawi are very similar languages with
some slight differences in vocabulary; for example,
the noun for ‘dugong’ is odorr in Bardi and urdorr
in Jawi (Bowern 2007). There are also grammatical
differences; for example the inflected form ‘for
ghting’ is biilingan in Bardi and biilan in Jawi -
note the different purposive case ending (Bowern
2008). Yawijibaya and Umiida are closely related
to Worrorra. There are some differences in verb
forms for example compare Yawijibaya beyagal,
Umiida bayalgolgo with Worrorra bengkaal , all
meaning ‘come here’. Grammatically, the ablative
case (meaningfrom) also differs, Yawijibaya –ga,
Umiida –naga and Worrorra –aalb(a) (McGregor
and Rumsey 2009). Areas associated with Jawi,
Yawijibaya and Winjarrumi languages consist
entirely, or largely, of islands and ocean water,
while areas associated with the other language
groups in the survey areas include islands and
ocean waters as well as large sections of the
mainland, such as for Wunambal.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Aboriginal
people have occupied north-west Australia for at
least 40,000 years and that the Kimberley was a
likely entry point for the arrival of the  rst people
across land bridges from Asia (Mulvaney and
Kamminga 1999). Throughout this period, sea levels
have risen and fallen with glaciations, and offshore
islands have rejoined the mainland and separated
again. OConnor (1989) has remarked that there
are relatively few archaeological remains on many
islands despite ethnographic evidence of long and
intensive occupation. However, some signi cant
archaeological deposits have been investigated in
rock shelters on High Cliffy Island, Koolan Island
and Macleay Island, con rming a long history of
island occupation as early as 27,300 +/- 1100 BP
based on radiocarbon dating of deposited materials.
Other islands have rock art, stone arrangements,
shell middens and scattered artefacts.
Estimates suggest that prior to European
colonisation, the total Aboriginal population in
the coastal area between Yampi Sound and Cape
Londonderry was in the vicinity of 4000 people
(Crawford 1969).
In many cases, Aboriginal people residing on
islands experienced greater or earlier impacts from
colonisation than those on the mainland (Crawford
2001). Much of the early colonization came from
the sea, followed later by land-based expeditions
and pastoralism (Jebb 2002). Also, because of their
smaller countries and smaller numbers of people,
the island people and languages may have been
152 T. Vigilante et al.
more susceptible to the effects of colonisation. Of
the three distinct island languages in the Kimberley
(Yawijibaya, Winjarrumi and Jawi), only Jawi is still
spoken – albeit by a small number of old people.
By comparison, larger culturally distinct language
groups remain on large islands in the Northern
Territory, namely the Tiwi on Melville and Bathurst
Islands and the Anindilyakwa on Groote Eylandt;
these languages still being spoken by more than
a thousand people. The 2005 National Indigenous
Languages Survey Report estimated approximately
1500 speakers of Anindilyakwa, whereas the 2006
Australian Bureau of Statistics Census counted 1283
speakers (,
accessed June 2012).
Makassan sea traders (from present day Indonesia)
had already begun visiting the Kimberley coast
from sometime between 1669 and 1763 (Crawford
1969; 2001). They established seasonal camps and
processing centres for sea cucumber, including on
some islands – Jar, Woku-Woku, Low, Corronade,
Champagney, Augustus and Cassini (Crawford
2001), and operated between Cape Londonderry in
the north and Brue Reef in the south. Aboriginal
people’s interactions with Makassans varied.
There was some exchange of language, trade and
marriage partners (Crawford 2001). Some groups
worked with Makassans in the harvest of sea
cucumber. The Juarinanda people of Sir Graham
Moore Island adopted many words of possible
Malay origin into their language and personal
names of individuals were derived from Malay
boating terms (e.g. Lain-moro, the gap between two
ships lying parallel at anchor) (Hernandez 1941;
Crawford 2001). Aboriginal people in the Kimberley
also obtained dugout canoes from Makassans and
local indigenous words for canoe ‘namandi’ and
‘barawa’ may have been derived from Malay dialect
(Crawford 2001), but this remains to be tested.
However, evidence also suggests that relations
between Aboriginal people and Makassans in
the Kimberley region were often hostile and
that Aboriginal people changed their movement
patterns between islands and the coast, and the
inland to avoid Makassans (Crawford 1983).
European seafarers began to arrive soon after
the Makassans and found that Aboriginal people
had already adopted hostile behaviours to visitors,
sending smoke signals to warn each other of the
arrivals and, in some cases, lighting res to drive
the visitors away (Sholl 1865 cited in Crawford
2001; Perez 1977; Crawford 1969; 2001). The  rst
European visitors were mostly navigators and
explorers, including William Dampier in 1688 and
1699 (Dampier 1981 [1699]), Baudin in 1801 and 1803
(Baudin 1974 [1803]); King from 1819 to 1822 (King
1969 [1827]) and Stokes in 1838 (Stokes 1846). In one
of the earliest recorded encounters on 17 September
1819, Phillip Parker King documented Aboriginal
people on Lacrosse Island harvesting turtle eggs
and burning vegetation (King 1969).
Explorers were soon followed by colonists. Most
signi cant, was the failed attempt to establish a
pastoral colony at Camden Sound, which brought
Europeans into conflict with coastal Worrorra
people in the 1800s (Martin 1864; Richards 1990;
Crawford 2001). There are Aboriginal oral accounts
of con ict and massacres taking place between
early seafarers, including some on islands such as
Mary Island and Sheep Island (Crawford 2001).
The emerging pearling industry in Western
Australia expanded north and led to the establishment
of the township of Broome in the 1880s (McGonigal
1998; Edwards 1991). During this time coastal
Aboriginal people were forced into indentured or
slave labour (AHC 2011). From the 1890s pearling
luggers from Broome also began to exploit the
North Kimberley, often coming into con ict with
Aboriginal people (Crawford 2001). By the 1920s
the conflict had eased somewhat. Pearlers and
beachcombers encouraged Aboriginal people
to remain on the coast to work on luggers or in
camps during the dry season rather than move
inland, causing some disruption to traditional
lifestyle (Crawford 2001). During this time, both
Herbert Basedow (1918) and E.J. Stuart (1923)
undertook coastal voyages on luggers and recorded
their observations of the coast. Their accounts
suggest that there were still reasonable numbers
of Aboriginal people residing on islands at this
time, despite the increasing colonial presence.
They encountered Aboriginal people or evidence
of Aboriginal people on many islands still
living traditional lifestyles. Basedow (1918) also
documented the detailed island knowledge of
Aboriginal men from Sunday Island who worked
as crew on his vessel. In 1916, in the far north of
the Kimberley, he observed that ‘natives are often
seen on rafts’ in the area of the Holothuria Banks,
between Penguin Shoal and Warn Rock (Basedow
Following the failed pastoral attempts at Camden
Sound, more pastoralists and farmers began to settle
in the North Kimberley, near Wyndham and Derby
but also further north, including on Sir Graham
Moore Island and Barton Plains (Crawford 2001).
The Victorian Pastoral Company built a homestead
near Forrest River in 1886 (Green 2008). Con ict
between pastoralists and Aboriginal people led to
killings and massacres and police patrols began
capturing Aboriginal people and imprisoning them
in gaols in towns (Jebb 2002). The most recent and
well documented massacre occurred near Forrest
River in 1926 where a police patrol killed a large, but
unknown, number of people (Green 2008).
Contact with Europeans brought new disease
epidemics, such as leprosy and in uenza, which
exacted a huge toll on Aboriginal people. An
epidemic was said to have swept through the North
Kimberley coast in 1880 with so many people killed
that mortuary ceremonies could not be performed
(Green 2008). Crawford (2001) provides an account
of the Juarinanda people of Sir Graham Moore
Island who are said to have been killed in the late
19th century by a mysterious disease involving
worms under the skin, with the remainder of the
local population moving to Drysdale River Mission.
Drysdale River Mission diaries also document
epidemics, coupled with low birth rates and
intertribal killings (Perez 1977).
Christian missions were established along the
coast in the 1890s and early 1900s at Lombadina,
Sunday Island, Port George/Kunmunya/Wotjalum,
Drysdale River/Kalumburu and Forrest River.
The Christian missionaries wanted to protect
Aboriginal people from colonial impacts and
convert them to their denomination (Choo 2001).
Over time, Aboriginal people became increasingly
settled at missions but it was common practice
for groups of people to return to the bush for
some periods to observe cultural traditions and a
traditional lifestyle (Crawford 2001; Blundell and
Woolagoodja 2005). With the threat of Japanese
invasion during WWII, police patrols forced all
but a few people remaining in the bush to move to
settlements (Choo 2001). Missions often supported
themselves with shelling work that also enabled
Aboriginal people to visit island country. As was
the case for Janet Oobagooma who, until she
was about 11 years old, grew up on the islands
in the coastal region out from Kunmunya with
her grandparents and other old people. They
stayed on the islands throughout the year – even
during cyclones – using canoes to travel and hunt
for foods. Before Kunmunya Mission moved to
Wotjalum around 1953, Worrorra people used
to travel to Augustus Island for Christmas and
Easter holidays and for ‘shelling work’, collecting
pearl shell, baler shells, cowrie shells and living
off bush tucker like yams and fruits. Similarly,
Sunday Island Mission was sustained by shelling
work until it closed in the 1960s. Aboriginal people
from Sunday Island Mission spent several weeks
camped on various islands during the holiday
times collecting trochus shell throughout the
Buccaneer Archipelago; Daphne Wilfred spoke
of doing this in her childhood. After the 1950s,
Wotjalum and Sunday Island were forced to close
or relocate closer to towns due to lack of nances.
Forrest River Mission also closed in 1968 but was
re-established as Oombulgurri four years later. This
led to a period of dislocation before communities
re-established themselves at Old Mowanjum,
One Arm Point and Oombulgurri. A number of
outstations were established during the 1970s and
1980s with the support of government funded
programs, including Nilagoon on Sunday Island
(however, it is no longer permanently occupied).
Today, TOs predominantly reside in the
communities of One Arm Point, Djarinjin/
Lombadina, Mowanjum, Kalumburu, Oombulgurri
and the towns of Broome, Derby, Wyndham and
Kununurra. Small outstations exist at Cone Bay
(Yaloon), Kandiwal (Mitchell Plateau), adjacent to
Kalumburu, and adjacent to Oombulgurri. It is
dif cult to provide current and accurate population
gures for TO groups with connections to the area
of the KIBS. However, there are at least several
thousand TOs with connection to the saltwater
country covering the islands in this survey.
‘Native title’ is a form of interest in land and
waters recognised by the common law of Australia.
Unlike other forms of land tenure, it is derived
from legal systems outside the current Australian
legal system, but if it meets certain criteria it can
be recognised by Australian laws. The ‘other’ legal
systems from which native title comes are the laws
and customs of the Aboriginal society, community
or group who were in occupation of the claimed
area of land or waters at the time that the British
asserted sovereignty (in Western Australia, 1829).
If native title claimants can demonstrate that
the claimed land and waters were traditionally
owned by their ancestors under a system of laws
and customs which has continued to be observed
through to the present, and certain other legal
criteria are met, the common law of Australia will
recognise the ‘native title rights and interests’ in the
claimed area.
Like other land interests, native title rights can
be either exclusive (like freehold title) or non-
exclusive (like pastoral or other limited purpose
leases). Native title interests in land and waters
are private property interests which are protected
by the common law from wrongs such as trespass
or nuisance, in the same way that other land
interests are protected. However, because claims
for recognition of native title can take in excess
of a decade to resolve, claims which are not yet
determined (or recognised) by the Federal Court
provide some protection if they meet certain
technical criteria and are registered on the Register
of Native Title Claims. These pre-determination
protections are limited to procedural rights in
relation to proposals to grant competing interests
over the claimed area, such as a proposal to grant a
lease or a mining or exploration tenement.
154 T. Vigilante et al.
During the early 1900s the Government of
Western Australia declared Aboriginal Reserves
over some lands adjacent to Aboriginal missions
and settlements, including Sunday Island,
Wotjalum, Munja, Kunmunya, Admiralty Gulf,
Cape Bougainville, Kalumburu and Forrest River.
In 1949, the Australian Presbyterian Board of
Missions applied, with partial success, for the
Kunmunya Reserve to be extended to include
islands off the coastline (Augustus Island and
parts of the adjacent Bonaparte Archipelago, and
the High Cliffy and Montgomery islands, and
parts of the adjacent Buccaneer Archipelago) and
waters adjacent to protect Aboriginal interests in
native dugong, turtle and  shing grounds from
the intrusion and exploitation by non-Aboriginal
people (Department of Land Administration File
55426 based on Government Gazettes, 13-06-49).
The islands were annexed but the waters were not
included in the reserve. Many other islands remain
unallocated Crown Land (meaning land over which
no other tenure has been created), including Bigge,
Adolphus and Long islands. Part of Sir Graham
Moore was leased in the 1920s to grow cotton but
this lease has long since expired.
Over the last 20 years, the State Government
has released planning documents recommending
conservation reserves for several islands (Burbidge
et al. 1991; Burbidge and McKenzie 1978) as well
as marine reserves (CALM 1994). In 2010 the State
Government released the Kimberley Science and
Conservation Strategy which includes a proposal to
declare reserves over some 30 islands (http://www. Accessed
10/06/2012). These reserve proposals are subject to
negotiation with native title holders.
The majority of the area of the KIBS was covered
by native title claims in the period that the surveys
were done, and the balance of the area was subject
to a native title determination. In the period since
completion of the KIBS, the majority of the area
subject to native title claims has been recognised
in two further determinations to be subject to both
exclusive and non-exclusive native title rights and
These claims and determinations cover the
islands, seas, reefs, intertidal zones and adjacent
mainland. At the commencement of the KIBS
there was only one native title determination, the
Bardi Jawi native title determination. The Wanjina
Wunggurr Dambimangari native title claim and the
Wanjina Wunggurr Uunguu native title claim were
subsequently determined on 26 and 23 May 2011,
respectively. The registered native title claims are
the Mayala native title claim and the Balanggarra
Combined native title claim.
As noted above, native title rights and interests
can be recognised as ‘exclusive’ or ‘non-exclusive’.
While the actual content of these rights and
interests will depend on the rights that come from
traditional laws and customs, exclusive possession
native title rights and interests are the rights to
possess, occupy, use and enjoy land and waters
as against the whole world. Non-exclusive native
title rights and interests will depend on customary
rights in the land, but often include the following
rights and interests:
To live on the land, camp, erect shelters and
move about the land and waters;
To engage in cultural activities on the land and
waters, including the protection of places of
cultural signi cance from physical harm; and
• To hunt and  sh the land and waters and use
the resources of the land.
Aboriginal peak bodies dealing with land, law,
culture and language have emerged over the last
30 years including the KLC and its Land and Sea
Management Unit, the Kimberley Aboriginal Law
and Culture Centre (KALACC) and the Kimberley
Language Resource Centre. The last 20 years has
also seen the emergence of a formalised Indigenous
natural and cultural resource management
The movement of people from their lands
and seas during the colonization period created
a context where traditional practices were
constrained and which saw the rise of some
environmental problems. Most significantly,
given the events of colonisation, the dif culty of
maintaining traditional land management through
seasonal burning by Aboriginal people across
some remote areas has led to a rise in large and
intense unmanaged wild res in the late dry season
(Vigilante et al. 2004). Bowman et al. (2001) coi ned
the phrase ‘the Wilderness Effect’ to explain the
environmental consequences of people moving ‘off
country’. There has also been a rise in physical and
social/cultural impacts on cultural values and at
sites of signi cance, largely because of unmanaged
visitation from tourists, government land managers,
pastoralists and mining and exploration companies
(discussed below).
One area of particular concern to TOs is the
largely unregulated expedition cruise industry
accessing Aboriginal cultural sites and Aboriginal
lands without consent (Scherrer et al. 2008, 2011;
Smith et al. 2009; Scherrer and Doohan 2011). In
response to these concerns, the KLC initiated The
Saltwater Country Project with North Kimberley
coastal TOs in 2004. The Saltwater Country Project
aims to document TO values and concerns for the
coastal region and develop management strategies
to protect cultural values. The project resulted in
the development of a plan with recommendations
from TO groups about the ways to manage tourist
visitation through permits, Aboriginal ranger
programs and Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs)
(North Kimberley Saltwater Country Plan 2010).
An IPA is a voluntary conservation covenant
registered on the Australia National Reserve
System to International Union for Conservation
of Nature (IUCN)classi cation with an objective
to protect at least 75% of the area. There is also
a funding commitment from the Australian
Government. A number of TO groups (including
Wanjina Wunggurr Uunguu and Bardi and
Jawi) have now established Aboriginal Rangers
through the Australian Government’s ‘Working
On Country Program’. Five coastal groups are also
developing IPAs with funding from the Australian
Governments IPA Program. IPA management plans
are being developed using a participatory planning
tool developed by The Nature Conservancy
called Conservation Action Planning (The Nature
Conservancy 2011; Moorcroft et al. 2012). In 2010
Wanjina Wunggurr Uunguu TOs became the  rst
Kimberley coastal native title group to declare
an IPA over two large Aboriginal reserves. It also
released its ‘Healthy Country Plan’ with support
from Bush Heritage Australia and the KLC
(Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation
[WGAC] 2010). Other significant natural and
cultural resource management projects are the
Bardi-Jawi Dugong and Marine Turtle Management
Project (Kennett and Kitchens 2009), the North
Kimberley Fire Abatement Project (http://klc.
project/; Fitzsimons et al. 2012) and Traditional
Knowledge recording projects (Horstman and
Wightman 2001; Karadada et al. 2011).
In 2008, the Australian Heritage Council
commenced a National Heritage assessment of
the West Kimberley. The assessment involved
identifying natural, historic and Indigenous values
that meet the technical criteria. The KLC was
funded by the Commonwealth to work with TOs
to identify values of outstanding heritage value to
the nation. TOs wanted the entire West Kimberley
to be listed for its heritage values. Although they
have their own distinct cultural traditions, they
share a common history of resistance, survival and
adaption over many thousands of years, with the
result that their ‘stories’, cultures and history are
interconnected. On 31 August 2011, following a
comprehensive culturally appropriate consultation
process, the West Kimberley as ‘one place with
many stories was included on the National
Heritage List by the Commonwealth Minister for
the Environment (see AHC 2011). The listing of the
West Kimberley on Australia’s National Heritage
list led the federal Environment Minister Tony
Burke to remark that this is the nations largest
land-based National Heritage listing and the  rst
to proceed with the full consent of the TOs (http://
01.html. Accessed 30/03/2012).
The following themes and their associated
heritage values were authorised by TOs and were
ultimately included in the listing (see AHC 2011;
national/west-kimberley/index.html. Accessed
Wanjina Wunggurr cultural landscape and
sea-scape, including rock art and other
manifestations of Wanjina Spirit Beings, and
Gwion Gwion/Girrigorro rock art (Gwion
Gwion and Girrigorro are descriptive terms
used by North Kimberley language groups
to refer to a particular type of rock art and
associated narratives found in the region. We
also note that Balanggarra often spell Girrigorro
as Kirakiro or Kirrakirro).
The Fitzroy River Catchment cultural landscape,
described through the narratives of the Snake
(Rainbow Serpent).
The double log raft (Kalwa/Kalum often spelt as
gaalwa by Bardi and galam by Worrorra).
Pearl stories – riches of the sea. The description
of this value also includes the concept of wunan
/wurnan cultural trade and exchange.
Bungarun Leprosarium, sites associated
with the Noonkanbah dispute, the Bunuba
resistance and the role of Jandamarra and
Sacred Heart Church at Beagle Bay, all of
which TOs authorised for listing as part of the
listing’s overall theme of resistance, survival and
The physical environment and setting of the 24
islands and the wider region has been described
by Gibson and McKenzie (2012). TOs have their
own detailed system of classifying landscape and
seascape features. For example, TOs use the concept
saltwater country’ (lalanggarram in Worrorra
[Clendon 2000] and gaarra in Bardi [Aklif 1999]) in
an effort to demonstrate to others that their country
– no matter what its component parts (water, reef,
salt water, islands, beaches and the hard ground
of the mainland or of rivers) – is meaningful (see
for instance WGAC 2010). At the more local and
tangible level, Indigenous classi cation of country
156 T. Vigilante et al.
emphasizes soil type and geomorphology which
in uence the distribution and abundance of plant
and animal resources. These same classi cations
apply to islands as microcosms of the mainland
(Crawford 1982). Each TO language group has
its own word for islands, including Iinalang
(Bardi – Aklif 1999), Ungajon (Worrorra – Janet
Oobagooma pers. comm.), Uumerige (Wunambal
– Jack Karadada, pers. comm.) and Mudu (Belaa –
Crawford 1982).
The plant and animal knowledge of North
Kimberley TOs has been documented by
ethnographers working with TOs (Crawford 1982;
Lands 1997; Mangglamara et al. 1991; Paddy and
Smith 1987; Rouja 1998; Smith 1997; Smith and
Kalotas 1985; Kenneally et al. 1996). More recently
the KLC has undertaken ethnoecological work
with TO groups initially funded through the
Tropical Savanna Cooperative Research Centre.
This work has resulted in plant and animal
knowledge lists for the Wanjina Wunggurr Uunguu
and Balanggarra Native Title Groups including
words in Wunambal and Gaambera languages
and Belaa and Yeiji languages respectively (KLC
2000). In 2009 and 2010, the Wunambal Gaambera
Aboriginal Corporation undertook further work,
the results of which were published as a book in
May 2011 (Karadada et al. 2011). Belaa speakers
have done further work on their lists but this
remains unpublished. Worrorra speakers also
commenced similar work but their list also remains
Aboriginal peoples connection to country
is influenced by their religious beliefs, long
occupation, and an extensive body of knowledge,
all of which relate to both extended and more local
stretches of country. Traditional Owner beliefs and
values have been articulated by various Aboriginal
people and by anthropologists (Chalarimeri 2001;
Blundell and Woolagoodja 2005; Ngarjno et al.
2000; Mowaljarlai and Malnic 2001). More recently,
as noted above, Aboriginal cultural values were
documented for assessment for national heritage
listing (Blundell and Doohan 2009; Blundell et al.
2009; Crawford 2009; Vachon 2009).
Like Aboriginal people across Australia,
Kimberley TOs believe in an era of creation when
ancestral beings formed features of the land and
the sea, created animals and plants, implanted
languages in the country and gave Aboriginal
people a set of laws and customs to live by
(AHC 2011). Generally glossed in English as ‘the
Dreaming, or ‘the Dreamtime’ (Stanner 1979, 1987),
the events of the Dreaming are conveyed through
complex religious narratives that Aboriginal
people call their ‘stories.’ Importantly, the events
of the Dreaming resonate in the present. Ancestral
creator beings continue to inhabit the country
where they manifest themselves as rock art, stone
arrangements and other tangible and intangible
features of the land and the sea. As such, these
features provide visible evidence of creative
labours of these Dreaming Beings (Blundell
2003). Moreover, as powerful sentient beings, the
Ancestral Beings have the capacity to bring good
fortune, but also harm to humans and country.
The language groups whose territories are
included in the KIBS project have different accounts
of the Dreaming as well as different bodies of
laws and customs, as re ected by the native title
communities. Some ‘stories’ and some aspects of
their law are restricted and secret, particularly
parts of the male initiation ceremonies. Other
aspects are not restricted in the same way, but are
still controlled by rules and protocols of disclosure
such as who can grant an outsider permission to
visit country.
For members of the Wanjina Wunggurr
Community, the Dreaming isLalai. As was
indicated above, this community includes the
Dambimangari and Uunguu native title groups (as
well as the Wilinggin native title group). Members
of these groups are TOs of islands and adjacent
waters associated with Worrorra, Gaambera,
Wunambal, Yawijibaya, Winjarrumi, Umiida and
Unggarranggi languages. Members of the Wanjina
Wunggurr Community share a unique set of
beliefs and practices including a patrilineal moiety
system of political organisation represented by
two nightjar birds, and other animal species. In
contrast to other Kimberley peoples, they consider
themselves to be the descendants of ancestral
beings called Wanjina who are responsible, along
with the Wunggurr Snake, for the creation of their
country and for their particular laws and customs
(Blundell et al. 2009). The Wanjina Wunggurr
TO, Janet Oobagooma, describes the creation of
the Prince Regent River and Saint George Basin
through the actions of two Wanjina who appear
in Lalai in their animal forms as Rock Cod and
Baler Shell (Blundell et al. 2009). As she recounts,
in the process of this creative labour, Baler Shell
transforms into St Andrew Island, which takes its
Worrorra name ‘Ngarlangkarnanya’ from the baler
shell. The other names associated with the island
are Gumalamala and Jirinii which are associated
with the local historical narrative coming from
Wunambal country to the north. Both of these
narratives are also associated with the prominent
Mt Trafalgar. This is one example of the complex
layered meanings that are associated with places
within the traditional country. These narratives
are embedded in the country and reflect the
interwoven nature of people, Lalai and place.
Another example is St Andrew Island – it is but a
part of a rich and textured space that includes river
beds, mountains and sea water.
In some of the Wanjina Wunggurr people’s
religious narratives, Wanjina transform themselves
into rock paintings, including some on islands
(Crawford 1969). Wanjina appear in these paintings
as anthropomorphic  gures, characterised by their
lack of a mouth (although there are exceptions).
These  gures have been widely represented in the
mainstream media and are depicted by Wanjina
Wunggurr people in their contemporary art. There
are also paintings in rock shelters on islands in
Wanjina Wunggurr territory that are identi ed as
Kaira beings, similar to Wanjina but originating
from the sea. One such painting occurs on Bigge
Island (Crawford 1968). Wanjina also manifest as
features of the landscape and seascape, and they
appear in the sky in the shape of the Milky Way.
There are also Wanjina and Wungurr that are
manifest as stone arrangements, of which there are
many on the islands. As well, Wanjina are closely
associated with the formation of clouds and the
life giving rains that arrive at the end of the dry
season, and with the child-spirits of their children
which men ‘ nd’ in a dream and then pass to their
wives. These child spirits, which people refer to
as ‘wunggurr, reside in the country at wunggurr
sites, for example in whirlpools in the sea, stone
arrangements on islands and waterholes on land.
The northernmost islands in the KIBS occur
in the Balanggarra claim area. ‘Balanggarra’
unlike other terms of reference, does not have any
language, country or so-called ‘tribal’ connotations.
Balanggarra, which means ‘one mob together
for country,’ was chosen as an appropriate term
to describe the collective. Members of this claim
group have their own narratives regarding the
creation of their country and the source of their
laws and customs. These accounts emphasize the
ancestral Snake Wunggurr, also called Lu, who
created the King George Falls. This ancestral
Snake resides at Sir Graham Moore Island and in
the adjacent waters of the sea. The Balanggarra
elder, Matthew Waina, describes how many years
ago, some of his grandparents were drowned in
this area during a canoe voyage because of strong
currents attributed to this Snake. The Balanggarra
people’s saltwater country includes a reef called
‘Rinjii-barda bindingei’, located to the north of
Cape Londonderry in the vicinity of Stewart Island,
where the Dreaming Star ‘fell down’ to become the
highly prized and ritually important pearl shell
(Pinctada maxima) (Blundell et al. 2009).
The southernmost island in the KIBS lies in the
territory of the Bardi and Jawi native title group,
whose members, as we have seen, are connected
to areas of land and water associated with the
Bardi and Jawi languages. Like Wanjina Wunggurr
people, Bardi and Jawi people have a distinct
set of beliefs and practices. Their country is also
characterised by a distinct Indigenous cultural
landscape and seascape, where various features
are said to be the result of the actions of ancestral
Dreaming beings. Although TOs are very familiar
with these manifestations of the Dreaming or
Iniminongoon Jawal, such physical features of the
landscape, and seascape, may not be recognised by
people outside the cultural group.
Bardi and Jawi people attribute many features
in their country to a Dreaming ancestor called
Galalong (also spelled Galalang) who also created
natural resources in their country as well as many
of their laws (Petri 1938/40; KLC 2010). Along with
Galalong, there are other ancestral Dreaming
beings associated with Bardi and Jawi country.
One of them, Loolooloo, associated with saltwater,
manifests as a shark that helps guide people if they
are in trouble whilst travelling or hunting on sea
country (Frank Davey, pers. comm.).
Bardi-Jawi country is also inhabited by the pre-
existing spirits of Bardi and Jawi children called
‘rai’ (KLC 2010). While other Kimberley Aboriginal
groups have beliefs about the pre-existing spirits
of their children, as we have seen in the case
of Wanjina Wunggurr people, the expression
of this belief among Bardi and Jawi (as well as
among culturally similar groups on the Dampier
Peninsula) is quite distinct.
Rai comes to you in a dream. Sometimes they make
themselves visible to certain people and will leave
markers, like tracks in the sand. Rai live near fresh
water places and in caves, you have to be respectful
when you’re near their place otherwise they will get
upset. Rai choose who they belong to. When a rai
becomes human it takes on certain characteristics and
can often be identi ed by distinct markings on the
body. (Frank Davey pers. comm.)
For Bardi and Jawi people, their country,
inhabited by rai, constitutes the physical and the
spiritual source of their very identity as human
The Mayala claim area consists entirely of islands
and the adjoining waters and other features of the
sea. In contrast to the other native title claim areas
covered by the KIBS, TOs of the Mayala claim area
are connected to their island country on the basis
of two distinct cultural traditions, rather than one.
Some are connected on the basis of the Wanjina
Wunggurr culture, while others are connected on
the basis of beliefs that are more similar to those
of Bardi and Jawi culture. This situation appears to
re ect the geographical location of this claim area
between the Bardi and Jawi determination area, to
its south, and the Dambimangari determination
area of Wanjina Wunggur people, to its north.
158 T. Vigilante et al.
Historically, Mayala TOs have had important links
with both Wanjina Wunggurr groups and Bardi
and Jawi, including intermarriages between their
members. Their island country is also strategically
located at the nexus of a coastal trading network
that has extended along the Kimberley coast
and has involved TO traders associated with
different cultural traditions. This coastal network
is part of a much broader exchange system that
continues to operate across the Kimberley region
and is known as ‘wurnan’ to Wanjina Wunggurr
people and ‘anggarr’ or ‘rubarn’ to Bardi and Jawi
people (Blundell and Woolagoodja 2005). In the
past, the participation of Mayala people in this
coastal network allowed them to obtain mangrove
logs required for making the double log rafts (to
be described below) that they depended on in
order to move from island to island and access
the mainland. Logs for making these rafts were
obtained either directly or in trade from the large
mangrove swamps located on the eastern shore
of King Sound in the Dambimangari claim area.
The Jawi, on Sunday Island (in the Bardi and Jawi
native title determination area), were middle men
in this network, trading rafts and raft poles to Bardi
based on the Dampier Peninsula mainland; these
items were exchanged for spears which were in
great demand by island people given the scarcity
of suitable woods for making them on the islands
(Tindale 1974).
Throughout the survey area, a range of images
are found at rock art sites. Islands in Wanjina
Wunggurr country contain the world famous
anthropomorphic paintings of the Wanjina
described above, as well as paintings of other
animals and plants, some said to be Wanjina
in their animal form. Both Wanjina Wunggurr
country and Balanggarra country contain paintings
of small, delicate gures that Worrorra people refer
to as Gwion Gwion, Wunambal and Gaambera
people call Gwion, and Balanggarra people call
Girrogorro (Crawford 1968; Ngarnjo et al. 2000).
These small lively  gures are depicted in scenes
that show activities such as hunting. Wanjina
Wunggurr people consider the Gwion Gwion to
have been put there by a Lalai (Dreaming) creator
bird, who is said to have painted the  gures with its
blood by using its beak, while Balanggarra people
consider the figures to represent the everyday
activities of their human ancestors (Blundell et al.
The Wanjina and Gwion/Girrogorro rock art was
the subject of a proposal for World Heritage listing
in the last decade; however, this proposal was
rejected by TOs because they believed that such
a listing would disconnect these sites from their
broader cultural/country context. For them, rock
art sites are components of their broader cultural
landscape and seascape (and their sky-scape) (cf.
McNiven and Russell 2005). In contrast, the recent
listing of the West Kimberley on the National
Heritage List, described above, was supported by
TOs because the listing recognises the broader
Wanjina Wunggurr cultural land- and sea-scape of
which this rock art is a part (AHC 2011).
In addition to rock art sites, islands contain
scatters of stone tools and middens as well as
stone arrangements, some of which are sacred
manifestations of Dreaming beings while others
are the foundations of shelters or windbreaks
(Blundell 1975; O’Connor 1987). There are also
engravings and burial sites on islands which are
of great signi cance to TOs. According to senior
men and women the islands have been used on a
seasonal basis for hunting turtle, collecting turtle
eggs and harvesting vegetable foods. Elders also
talk of ‘blackfella roads’ (morr in Bardi, and mayirri
in Jawi [Bowern 2008]), walking trails that connects
camping areas and water places on islands. Across
the saltwater countries of West Kimberley people,
there are also sites that relate to contacts between
Aboriginal people and outsiders that figure in
Aboriginal people’s oral accounts of their history.
Through time, places become marked through the
ceremonial as well as the more mundane practices
of TOs: an island in the Dambimangari claim area
is now known by the name of a Worrorra woman
who is buried there (Love 1938), while another spot
is referred to as the place where a Worrorra man
‘lost his glasses’ a few years ago.
While members of the native title claim groups
have different beliefs and practices, they all have a
deeply felt responsibility to maintain the spiritual
health of their countries. Because the country is
perceived as sentient and alive, it is important for
TOs to regularly ‘visit country’. Country that is not
regularly visited by its TOs is said to ‘get lonely’
or in the case of shelters and caves along estuarine
river systems, ‘hide themself’ from TOs.
Caring for country involves landscape scale
burning during the dry season to facilitate the
growth of fresh vegetation with the arrival of the
annual rains. During bush trips, TOs will clean
away the overgrowth at places such as the graves
of deceased relatives. Such activities are said to
keep the country ‘bright.’ For Wanjina Wunggurr
people, caring for country includes ‘freshening’ (i.e.
repainting) the Wanjina who have ‘put themselves’
as paintings across their homeland (Blundell and
Woolagoodja 2005). Arriving at a painted site, TOs
call out’ to alert the Wanjina of their visit before
repainting their fading images. Bardi and Jawi
and Mayala people talk to the ‘rai’ places that are
inhabited by ‘rai spirits’.
In all the claim areas described above, islands
are inhabited by the spirits of deceased ancestors
and by the Dreaming ancestral beings. In the case
of the Worrorra people, the last place where the
deceased ‘foot touches ground’ before entering the
afterlife is an island. There are culturally speci c
rituals that must be followed so as not to offend
these resident spiritual beings. For example, when
they arrive at islands, Aboriginal people call out
to announce their arrival and then perform other
rituals to ensure a safe visit. Strangers, or TOs
who have been absent for a while, undergo a ritual
whereby they walk through smoke produced by
placing green leaves or certain kinds of seaweed
on a small  re. It is imperative that strangers to a
country be introduced in this way; the smoke is
said to eliminate strange scents from the visitors
which allows the country to recognise them. As the
Balanggarra TO, Neil Taylor, stated:
A lot of old people used to walk around here before,
on the side of this beach, in this country. So when
strangers come here...they got to get smoked by smoke they don’t get sick walking around in the bush,
you know. That’s why we put everyone through the
smoke, so no one can’t dream about the old time, the
olden day spirit make them silly in the head.
‘Caring for country’ is a reciprocal relationship
between TOs and their spiritual beings. In the
case of outsiders, it requires the asking and giving
of permission by the appropriate TOs in order to
access a particular area and the resources in it.
Some areas are dangerous or restricted to outsiders
and cannot be visited, such as law grounds, certain
cultural sites, and burial grounds. A late Ngarinyin
elder, a member of the Wanjina Wunggurr
community, wrote about an island off Champagney
Island called ‘Libudbud Udman Ngirri Ngari’.
This island is considered a portal to ‘Dulugun, the
home of dead spirits for members of his community
(Mowaljarlai and Malnic 2001; cf. Lommel 1997 viz
1952). The island is a dangerous place where people
should not visit (K. Oobagooma, pers. comm.).
There were many instances during the KIBS project
when TOs identi ed important cultural sites on
islands that the survey team needed to avoid
or only visit if accompanied by a TO. Sylvester
Mangolamara and Sylvia Djanghara spoke of the
importance of burial sites as well as Wanjina rock
art on Bigge Island. Terry McCarthy spoke of law
grounds on Sunday Island that teams needed to
avoid. Rai spirits found in both the Bardi and Jawi
and the Mayala claim areas can cause trouble for
strangers who visit or camp in the wrong place, or
visit these claim areas without being introduced in
the proper way.
On the north-west coast from One Arm Point
and Sunday Island to Napier Broome Bay, rafts
made from logs cut from the trunks of the Kapok
Mangrove tree, Camptostemon schultzii, were
widely used for water travel in the sea (Vachon
2009; Love 1936; Tindale 1974). Bardi, Jawi, Umiida,
Ungarranggu, Worrorra, Yawijibaya, Winjarrumi,
Wunambal, Gaambera and possibly Kwini people
utilised a raft made up of two overlapping raft
platforms, referred to as a ‘double-raft’ in the
literature (Akerma n 1975; Love 1936) and catamaran
by some Aboriginal people. Names for the raft vary
between languages: gaalwa (Bardi - Aklif 1999;
Kevin George, Angus and Stumpagee families,
pers. comm.), Biel Biel/biyal biyal (Jawi), galam/
galum (Worrorra) (Love 1936; Akerman 1975),
walawa/bililu/wurndala (Wunambal, Capell 1941;
Karadada 2011) and wundana (Belaa) (Dolores
Cheinmora, pers. comm.). Mayala people describe
another raft called a munjilal/manjilal kalwa
of the same design but larger, lighter, and more
buoyant, made from mangrove trees (probably also
Camptostemon schultzii) harvested at a particular
location in Talbot Bay. Rafts often became sodden
with water after a journey and needed to be
brought ashore to dry but the munjilal kalwa
did not. A wooden paddle made of cypress pine
was used to propel the raft, but long distance
journeys relied on tides and currents to carry the
raft. Saltwater people are proud of their detailed
knowledge and particular skills that allow them to
navigate the massive tides and often treacherous
coastal regions. For instance, Bardi people have a
detailed knowledge and classi cation system of
tides that enabled them to navigate some of the
most treacherous waters in Australia by raft (Smith
1997; Rouja 1998). This knowledge continues to
assist them today. According to Daphne Wilfred,
there are names for the passage ways through the
islands that enable her people to avoid dangerous
whirlpools. They also use the stars to navigate
during the night. The detailed cultural knowledge
of the tides is expressed in ‘Ilma’ the traditional
song and dance practice of Bardi and Jawi people.
In the north-west Kimberley, dugout canoes
have also been used for sea travel over the last few
hundred years. Evidence suggests that these crafts
were initially obtained from Makassans (present
day Indonesians) by Wunambal, Gaambera and
Kwini people, who later learned to make them
themselves (Crawford 2001). Local Aboriginal
names for canoe (namandi, barrawar, barrawara,
barrawal, jirraarri) are similar across language
groups. Canoes are known to have been made from
a variety of native tree species including Bombax
ceiba, Nauclea orientalis, Canarium australianum,
160 T. Vigilante et al.
Melaleuca spp., Brachychiton diversifolius, Alstonia
actinophylla and Ficus racemosa (Crawford 1982, 1983,
2001; Karadada et al. 2011). Later, during the 1900s,
canoes were also adopted by Worrorra people at
Kunmunya Mission (Love 1936), Yawijibaya at
Montgomery Reef and later by Bardi, Jawi, Umiida
and Unggarrangi people around Sunday Island
Mission, who call them barrawar (Aklif 1999;
Daphne Wilfred, pers. comm.). Canoe journeys by
Wunambal, Gaambera and Worrorra people have
been documented, including journeys of up to 50
km offshore to reefs such as Holothuria Reef and
Cassini and Troughton islands (Basedow 1918;
Lommel 1997; Crawford 2001).
In some circumstances, canoes have some
advantages over rafts; they are more manoeuvrable,
less susceptible to the in uences of the tides and
wind, less prone to water logging, can be paddled
further offshore, and can carry up to 10 people.
However, they are less stable than rafts, sometimes
ll with water and can capsize in rough weather
and tidal currents (Love 1936; Crawford 2001;
Daphne Wilfred, pers. comm.).
In the Cambridge Gulf area, Aboriginal accounts
suggest that people did not commonly have rafts
or canoes but typically swam across estuarine
channels using buoyant logs and assisted by tides,
or waded across shallow sandbars at low tide.
Balanggarra elders, George Dixon and Selwin
Meehan (pers. comm.) have described how, on
several occasions in their youth, they accompanied
old men swimming across from Forrest River
Mission to Adolphus Island to hunt flying fox
which roosted on the island in great numbers.
They would select a dry buoyant log of any kind
to aid them in their swim. This method of crossing
Cambridge Gulf was commonplace. Green (2008)
has stated that there are instances in which rivers
have been forded at low tide with the support of a
log on which infants and dogs have been balanced.
Green (1988) provides two further accounts of
Forrest River people crossing tidal waters and the
hazards of crocodiles. In one account a woman gave
up the dog she was carrying to a crocodile to save
In 1925, a woman named Ungala crossed the Forrest
River to gather lily-seeds at some lagoons. When she
tried to cross back to Bremlah the tide was in. She
got a small log with little roots at one end, placed her
paperbark parcel of lily roots and seeds on the root end,
and her pup on top. Pushing the loaded log in front
of her, she started across. Near the middle of the river,
a crocodile appeared. Ungala calmly waited until he
came up, and then gave him the pup and continued on.
When she reached the other side she cried for her pup.
Flying Fox Island was a popular place for collecting
crocodile eggs as well as getting the fruit bats for
cooking. One Saturday a party of mission boys, some
twenty in number, went down the Forrest River to
hunt for crocodile eggs. The tide was low as they
crossed a sand bank to a small island. They found a
nest of crocodile eggs and at once made a  re and had
a feast. While they were feasting the tide rose, and
when they started homewards the water was already
waist high. They joined hands for safety, and shouting
to keep off the crocodiles they entered the water. The
crocodile whose nest they had robbed, however, was
awaiting them. She attacked the boy at the end of the
line, but he succeeded in beating her off. She at once
went along the line and caught, by the calf of the leg, a
lad named Eura. With great coolness he succeeded in
getting his hand in her mouth, and caught her by the
tongue. She let go, but pulled the muscle of his leg out
in a loop. It was a nasty wound. He also had his hand
badly cut.
The explorer Basedow (1925) suggests that this
simple mode of water crossing was widespread
across northern Australia:
The simplest type of  oat is no doubt the log of light
timber used along the north and north-east coast. The
straight trunk of a mangrove is selected, and from it a
log is cut, about  ve or six feet long, which is stripped
of its branches. Where a river or estuary has to be
crossed, such a log is slipped into the water and the
native lays his body over it, lengthwise with his legs
straddling it…
Senior Aboriginal men and women do not live in
fear of crocodiles. Balanggarra elder Mary Taylor
spoke of how her father and her husband would
speak to the crocodile in Aboriginal language and
tell it not to harm them, before swimming across
Cambridge Gulf or across to islands. Similarly,
Worrorra elder Janet Oobagooma, whose wunggurr
child spirit is the saltwater crocodile, was also
taught by her elders to speak to crocodiles and tell
them not to cause harm. Sylvester Mangolomara
spoke of how his grandfather taught him to speak
to crocodiles:
I swear at him in language, then I tell him ‘you’re not
the boss, I’m Wunambal, you’re Wunambal’. Then I
look him in the eye, and he duck down and take off. He
listen. This country not only from him.
Saltwater crocodiles are also considered food and
were sometimes hunted from raft or canoe (Jack
Karadada, pers. comm.).
Aboriginal occupation of islands has ranged
from permanent occupation of some of the larger
islands, to seasonal occupation of accessible
islands, to occasional visits to some of the smaller
and more remote islands. Evidence for occupation
comes largely from the accounts of TOs and from
archaeological evidence.
OConnor (1989) has remarked on the paucity of
shell middens and scattered artefacts on islands
in the Buccaneer Archipelago, despite the long
occupation of many of the islands. She concludes
that Aboriginal people mostly camped on beaches
where camp remains have been removed by the
in uence of large spring tides. The exceptions are
Macleay Island and High Cliffy Island which have
signi cant numbers of artefacts and Koolan and
High Cliffy Island which have rock shelters with
rich deposits from human occupation. There is
similar evidence on the Maret Islands and TOs talk
of ceremonial activities and large occupation camps
on Bigge Island. Further north, Sir Graham Moore
Island is also known to have a signi cant shell
midden (Matthew Waina, pers. comm.).
For some TOs their country has been focused
on particular islands and these people have been
considered ‘island people.’ There is evidence to
suggest that in the past such ‘island people’ spoke
distinct languages or dialects and had particular
ritual and ceremonial activities that were speci c
to being saltwater and island people. According
to some researchers, in the past Sunday Island
(O’Connor 1989), Montgomery Islands (Tindale
1974; O’Connor 1989), Champagny Island, Augustus
Island, Bigge Island and Sir Graham Moore
Island (Crawford 1983) sustained semi-permanent
populations and were associated with particular
clan groups. These larger islands have permanent
water and rich resources that supported such
populations. For some TOs, their country has
consisted of both islands and mainland areas;
for instance Bigge Island and the Maret Islands
are part of a larger single ‘country’ that extends
onto the mainland. There has been movement
of people between island and mainland groups,
with intermarriage and trade of goods and
culture (Blundell 1975; Crawford 2001). During an
archaeological survey of island countries in the
Montgomery Islands area, Blundell was told by a
senior Worrorra man that the Yawijibaya, the local
group connected to the Montgomery Islands ran a
school’ for mainland Worrorra boys, teaching them
how to exploit the abundant marine resources of
the area (Blundell 1975).
Other smaller islands could only be accessed
seasonally, dependent on the availability of
permanent fresh water and food. Crawford
(1983) has described how Wunambal and
Gaambera people living on Cape Voltaire and
Cape Bougainville were able to seasonally access
islands and reefs by canoe, but with some socially
derived constraints as well as seasonal in uences.
Many islands lack permanent fresh water and
strong south-east winds in dry season months
effectively closed the seas to canoe travel. For this
reason, canoe voyages were made as short raids
on resources while families remained camped on
the adjacent peninsulas. Voyages were typically
undertaken during neap tides each fortnight,
in order to avoid strong currents. The voyages
targeted resources like turtle eggs on nesting
beaches, sea turtle and dugong on reefs, and yams
and root crops collected at the end of the wet
season. Fruit bearing trees are abundant on some
of the offshore islands and, along with birds and
marine animals, provided a major incentive for
visiting these islands in the wet season (Blundell
1975). Once the dry season arrived and the seas
became inaccessible, coastal groups would move
inland to join inland groups hunting kangaroos
with fire and collecting freshwater resources.
The same pattern has been documented for other
groups (Kwini – Crawford 1982; Worrorra - Blundell
1975). This seasonal movement of people to utilize
different rich food resources also allowed for
intermarriage and ceremonial exchange (Blundell
1975). Traditional Owners continue to spend time
on these islands, visiting them, setting up camps,
performing ceremonies and accessing resources.
This ongoing use and occupation of islands has
been formally recognised, leading to the Bardi
and Jawi, Dambimangari and Uunguu native title
The availability of fresh water, which varies
across islands, has been one of the principal
constraints on the extent to which islands can be
used and occupied by Aboriginal people. Some
islands have permanent and reliable sources of
fresh water while other islands have ephemeral
water or no water at all. Augustus Island has some
large creek systems which  ow part of the year
and retain permanent pools. Sir Graham Moore
Island has a freshwater pool on its north side that
has waterlilies and seepage on the southern side
(Crawford 2001). These water sources may have
suffered some degradation from tidal surge and
lack of  re allowing them to be overgrown with
vegetation (Matthew Waina, pers. comm.). Many of
the islands have freshwater springs that are covered
at high tide and exposed when the tides are low.
Mr Jack Karadada has explained how he placed
standing stones above the tide line as markers of
these sites.
Bardi and Jawi people describe a number of types
of fresh water (Aklif 1999). Oomban are freshwater
seepages that  ow in the intertidal sands and can
be dug up at low tide but are covered by the sea
at high tide. Oomban occur on most islands and
provide drinking water to birds (Daphne Wilfred,
pers. comm.). Iidarr are creeks, the majority of
which are largely ephemeral on islands but in some
cases can  ow much of the year; biidin is water that
162 T. Vigilante et al.
can be dug just below the surface in creeklines and
depressions; oongoor is rainwater that collects in
at rockpools; and niimid is rainwater in deeper
rock pools. A number of larger islands have ‘oola’
- permanent water sources (Kevin George, Angus
and Stumpagee families, pers. comm.). Emergency
water can also be obtained from the raw white meat
of the giant clam.
As Crawford (1983) outlined above, in Wunambal
and Gaambera country, many offshore islands
could be reached by long voyages on canoe or raft
to exploit marine resources on the surrounding
reefs but the islands had limited fresh water. Where
water was not available, people survived for a few
days on water carried on board inside baler shells
and also by obtaining moisture from marine turtle
The availability of fresh surface water is likely to
affect the occurrence of some species on islands.
According to Worrorra elder Victor Barunga, the
permanent pools on Augustus Island support
aquatic species like freshwater crocodiles (Crocodylus
johnstonei) and freshwater (chelid) turtles and
waterlilies. Large animals like kangaroos, emus and
dingos are dependent on regular access to drinking
water. Agile wallabies (Macropus agilis) are able to
survive by accessing fresh water in the intertidal
areas at low tide or by drinking sea water and
thrive on some islands like Adolphus and Mary
Island where water is not permanent.
Knowledge of the location of freshwater places
and their names is an important component of the
traditional knowledge of Aboriginal people. Many
freshwater places are culturally important sites
associated with the Dreaming and are a source
of ‘spirit babies’ that are important for conception
(AHC 2011). Aboriginal people believe that when
strangers visit these water places without being
accompanied and welcomed by TOs the water
sources can dry up. Mayala people emphasize
that in their country some waterholes need to be
maintained by removing mangroves, vegetation
and sediment to restore their  ow or to expose the
A freshwater spring on the south side of Augustus
Island has a long history of use by both Aboriginal
people and various visitors. Dambimangari people
call it Aagungarlangarlangarri in Worrorra, which
translates as ‘talking water’ in English (Aagu =
water, ngarla = talk, -ngarri = associated with)
(Love 1936; Heather Umbagai, Janet Oobagooma,
pers. comm.). A Makassan  eet was documented
taking water from here in 1865 (Crawford 2001).
Worrorra people revealed its location to the
Camden Harbour settlers under some duress in
the 1860s (Crawford 2001). Bishop Torres visited
it on his voyage and suggested it was shown on a
navigation chart in 1906 (Perez 1986). It was also
used by pearl luggers into the 1920s (Basedow
1918). Janet Oobagooma (pers. comm.), who lived on
the island as a child, said the spring used to have
a hollow log acting as a pipe to make it easy for
luggers to collect water but this has now gone.
Island people identify themselves asSaltwater
People’ relying predominantly on rich marine
resources like turtle, dugong,  sh and shell sh
for much of their diet, and camping close to the
sea (Crawford 1983; O’Connor 1989). However,
islands also hold some important terrestrial
food like edible plants, sugarbag and  ying fox
that have been seasonally harvested or taken
In the past, rafts and canoes allowed men to
hunt sea turtle and dugong on reef systems in
the Buccaneer Archipelago, Montgomery Reef
and around offshore islands (O’Connor 1989).
These areas continue to be prime locations for the
contemporary hunting and  shing practices of TOs.
During lalin, the turtle breeding season (October
to December), green turtles aggregate and mate at
certain places around Sunday Island. Jawi people
have vantage points on the island where they can
watch the loo, tidal current, for mating turtles
(Kevin George, Angus and Stumpagee families,
pers. comm.). Sea turtles lay their eggs on many
islands, and both nesting females and their eggs
can be harvested at this time. Marine turtles also
lay their eggs on island beaches and are important
foods for Aboriginal people (Green 1988). Flatback
turtles tend to favour inshore islands and mainland
beaches while green turtles favour offshore islands
with clearer waters (Karadada et al. 2011).
Shell sh like trochus, giant clam, oysters, baler
shell and trumpet shell are abundant on some reefs.
Aboriginal people know how to use  sh poisons
made from certain plants (e.g. Tephrosea rosea) to
harvest  sh in rock pools at low tide (Kenneally
et al. 1996; Karadada et al. 2011). Fish can also be
speared by hand.
Offshore islands are important nesting sites
for seabirds and Aboriginal people harvest these
eggs in season. Twin Island near One Arm Point
has nesting terns, sooty oystercatchers, pelicans
and other species (Akerman 1985; Hassell and
Boyle 2002). Bardi and Jawi people still visit
these islands to harvest seabird eggs in August-
September (Terry McCarthy, pers. comm.). Seabird
eggs, namely boobies and terns, were harvested
on the Montgomery Islands by Yawijibaya people
and taken as gifts to mainland people (Love 1936;
Blundell 1975). Wunambal and Gaambera people
have also visited a number of islands during
Yirrma, the south-east wind time (approximately
TABLE 2 Some plant foods specifi cally identifi ed by Traditional Owners as being locally important on particular islands.
Table 3 provides a more comprehensive list of plant species recorded in the KIBS on islands and known to
be used across these language groups generally.
Species Language names Islands Sources
Buchanania obovata ‘green plum’
(including fruits and roots)
Gorrol (Bardi)
Kuleyi (Balanggarra)
Sir Graham Moore
Daphne Wilfred
Matthew Waina
Vitex glabrata ‘blackberry’ Kukulangi/kulangi (Balanggarra)
Gulangi (Wunambal)
Sir Graham Moore
Matthew Waina
J. Karadada
Persoonia falcata ‘bush pear’ Kandala (Balanggarra) Sir Graham Moore Matthew Waina
Mimusops elengi ‘bush jaffa’ Joongoon (Bardi)
Yangkowii (Wunambal)
Walarra (Wunambal)
Daphne Wilfred
J. Karadada
Aklif (1999)
Flueggea virosa ‘white currant’ Goorralgar (Bardi) Widespread Aklif (1999)
Ficus leucotricha Goorrir (Bardi) Sunday
Aklif (1999)
Ficus platypoda,
F. atricha
Barramanbi (Wunambal) Bigge J. Karadada
Karadada et al. (2011)
Syzigium eucalyptoides Iilarr (Bardi) High Aklif (1999)
Terminalia ferdinandiana
‘billygoat plum’
madoorr (Bardi)
arrangoor (Jawi)
Monty Wilfred
Aklif (1999)
Terminalia petiolaris Marool (Bardi) Long Aklif (1999)
Aidia racemosa / Carallia brachiata Dumulinggu (Wunambal) Bigge J. Karadada
Karadada et al. (2011)
Canarium australianum Long Monty Wilfred
May to August), to harvest seabird eggs (Love 1936;
Crawford 1983).
Little corellas nest in rocky crevices on several
islands in the Buccaneer Archipelago including
Jawinarr (the Tryer Islands Group) and rocky
islands near Long and Mermaid Islands.
Islands have a wide variety of edible plant
species. A comparison of the KIBS species list with
documented Aboriginal food species shows there are
some 126 species, subspecies and varieties across the
24 islands in the survey (Tables 2 and 3). However,
prior to the introduction of motorised watercraft
the exploitation of these plant foods would have
depended on whether the islands could be accessed
when the foods were in season and the availability
of other foods. Use of different plant species also
varies somewhat between Aboriginal groups. There
are examples of islands being seasonally accessed
to harvest rich plant resources, particularly yams
and bush fruits. In other situations plant foods have
been accessed opportunistically to supplement other
staples. There is some evidence to suggest that plant
resources have been managed by Aboriginal people
and that the distribution and abundance of some
species is a product of this management (Hynes
and Chase 1982). This management has included
the use or exclusion of  re, replanting of yams and
the deliberate or inadvertent spreading of seeds
(Vigilante 2004).
164 T. Vigilante et al.
TABLE 3 The presence of edible plant species on islands, based on ethnoecological literature and the plant species recorded during the Kimberley Islands Biological Survey.
Food uses are classifi ed as either fruits, roots, leaves, gum or nectar. References (Ref) to the ethnoecological literature are as follows: 1 – Karadada et al. (2011),
Uunguu; 2 – D. Cheinmora†, pers. comm., Crawford (1982); 3 – Kenneally et al. (1996); 4 – Wheeler (1992); and, 5 – Brock (1993).
Island key: ADO – Adolphus, AUG – Augustus, BIG – Bigge, BOO – Boongaree, BYM – Byam Martin, COR – Coronation, DAR – Darcy/Jungulu, HID – Hidden,
KAT – Katers, KIN – Kingfi sher, LAC – Lachlan, LON – Long, MAR – Mary, MOS – Middle Osborn, NWM – NW Molema, SGM – Sir Graham Moore, STA – St Andrew,
STO – Storr, SUN – Sunday, SWO – South West Osborn, UNN – Un-named, UWI – Uwins, WAG – Wargul Wargul, WUL – Wulalam Island.
Acacia colei var. colei seeds 3 • • 2
Acacia tumida seeds 2,3 • • • • •6
Acacia tumida var. tumida seeds 2,3 • • • • 5
Adansonia gregorii fruit, nut,
1,2 •• • • •• 8
Aidia racemosa fruit 1 • • • • 7
Ampelocissus acetosa fruit, roots 2,5 ••••• ••• •••• ••• •17
Amyema spp. fruit, nectar 1,2,3 14
Antidesma ghaesembilla fruit 2,5 • • • • • • • • 11
Avicennia marina fruit 3 • • • • • • • • 10
Avicennia marina subsp.
fruit 3 •2
Bombax ceiba var.
roots 1,2 • • 4
Brachychiton diversifolius seeds, roots,
1,2,3,4 • • • • • • • • • 11
Brachychiton  tzgeraldianus seeds, roots,
Brachychiton incanus seeds 2 • 1
Brachychiton tridentatus seeds, roots 1 ••4
Brachychiton tubersulatus seeds • 1
Brachychiton viridi orus seeds, roots 1 •5
Brachychiton viscidulus seeds • • • 3
Brachychiton xanthophyllus seeds • • 2
Bridelia tomentosa fruit 3 ••• ••••••• •••• •• •••19
Buchanania oblongifolia fruit, roots 1,2,5 4
Buchanania obovata fruit, roots 1,2,5 9
Canarium australianum seeds 1,2,3 • • • • • • • • • 13
Canarium australianum
var. australianum
seeds ••••6
Canarium australianum
var. glabrum
seeds • • • • • • • 10
Canarium australianum
var. velutinum
seeds •• •• 4
Capparis jacobsii fruit 2 • 4
Capparis umbonata fruit 2 3
Carallia brachiata fruit 1,5 •• 2
166 T. Vigilante et al.
Carissa ovata fruit • • 2
Cartonema parvi orum roots 1 ••••• •7
Cassytha  liformis fruit 3 • ••• •••• • ••••• 14
Cayratia trifolia roots 2 • • ••••• ••••••14
Celtis philippensis fruit 3 ••••• ••• • ••••••• •17
Cochlospermum fraseri roots 1,2,3 • • • • • 8
Commelina ensifolia roots 2 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 16
Corymbia polycarpa seeds 3 •••• • • • 11
Crinum angustifolium roots 1 •4
Cucumis melo fruit 2 • • •4
Curculigo ensifolia roots 2 1
Curculigo ensifolia
var. ensifolia
roots 2 •1
Cycas basaltica seeds 1 1
Cymbidium canaliculatum 3• 1
Cynanchum pedunculatum 2,3 • • 5
Cyperus bulbosus roots 2,3 • • • • • 9
Dendrophthoe acacioides fruit 2 ••2
Dendrophthoe acacioides
var. acacioides
nectar 3 • • • 5
Dioscorea bulbifera roots 1,2,3,5 • • • • • • • • 12
Dioscorea transversa roots 1,2,5 • • • • • • • 12
Ehretia saligna fruit 3 • •3
Eleocharis dulcis roots 1,2,3 1
Eriosema chinense roots 2 1
Eucalyptus miniata seeds 3 •••• •• • •• • •• •13
Exocarpos latifolius fruit 3 ••• •••• •• •••• • •• 16
Ficus aculeata fruit 1 •••• •• ••• •10
Ficus aculeata var. indecora fruit • •• •••••• 13
Ficus atricha fruit • • • • • • • • • • • 12
Ficus brachypoda fruit • • • • • 8
Ficus opposita fruit 2,3 2
Ficus platypoda fruit 1,2 ••• •••••10
Ficus subpuberula fruit •1
Ficus virens fruit 3