The Worlds Oldest
Ardi, is a journey that weaves its way through 5 language groups, each with their own distinctive culture, lore and traditions.
The Dampier Peninsula is home to Aboriginal people of the Ngumbarl, Nimanburr, Jabirr Jabirr, Nyul Nyul, Bardi and Jawi language groups.
For more than 40,000 years traditions and protocol have dictated Aboriginal lore and society. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, trading systems connected local Peninsula people to inland groups. Trading also occurred with people arriving by sea, long before European colonisation.
PEARL TRADING HISTORY OF THE DAMPIER PENINSULA
Pearl shell (Guwan) is of great spiritual significance to the saltwater people of the Dampier Peninsula and is known to have been traded across Australia for over 22,000 years, making it one of the world’s earliest forms of currency.
The Dampier Peninsula became integral to the pearling industry out of Broome in the 1860s. The reality of these early pearling days is a stark contrast to its romantic image. Aboriginal people were often forced into slavery to work as divers in harsh and dangerous conditions, an illegal practice known as blackbirding. These pearling operations brought European, Chinese, Malay, Philipino, Koepanger, Afghan and Japanese people as businessmen, divers and maritime workers. Today, these ethnic origins are evident throughout the Kimberley.
Today, local Aboriginal entrepreneurs have established businesses in various fields including: tourism, marine and land management, civil and construction, native foods and art.
FISHTRAPS & FISHING RAFTS
Traditional hunting and gathering techniques are still practiced in many parts of the Dampier Peninsula. Traditional stone fishtraps, some of which are still in use, can be observed at a number of locations. These sites represent our cultural heritage and are of great significance to the people of the Peninsula. When visiting these locations we ask that visitors respect these sites and do not remove stones or interfere with the structure. The Galwaa or Beil Beil is a traditional raft made from mangrove wood. These raft were used to navigate treachorous tidal waters for fishing and trade with neighbouring clans.