Wardan Lane – a little lane of firsts in Fremantle

This little lane crossing the railway near fishing boat harbour is a little street of Fremantle firsts – full of elements that I love.

It is the first street in Fremantle to have a counter-flow bike lane (where you can ride in the opposite direction to cars)

It is also the first West Australian street that I know of to have its own mini bike-only boom gate.

But most importantly it is the first street in Fremantle to be given a Nyoongar name directly chosen by traditional owners in the area.

Thanks to Dr Len Collard, Associate Professor at Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute and Whadjuk Nyoongar elder for liaising with other traditional owners and suggesting this very appropriate name. The text below is written by Len and explains why its significance and this interpretative signage is now down near the road

The word ‘wardan’ in Nyoongar language means ocean or sea.

The wardan is the place where the female wind ‘yorga mar’ (easterly or land breeze) meets the male wind ‘maaman mar’ (south westerly or sea breeze).

Nyoongar dreamtime tells us that yorga mar and maaman mar were lovers and would chase each other back and forth over the wardan and across the boodjar (land), giving Fremantle its daily easterly and south westerly breezes.

By coming down to Wardan Lane and sitting under the tall trees at the Esplanade Reserve, you can still hear the two lovers whispering to each other as the mar blows between the leaves of the trees.

The Wardan Gaba Boodjera, or the sea side, is where the Whadjuck Nyoongar people watched from high cliffs and white sandy beaches as European traders passed by on their way to Indonesia; and later, as they watched British colonists take up occupancy of this land in 1829.

I expect that this will be the first of many Nyoongar names you will see around Fremantle in coming months and years.

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About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

One Response to Wardan Lane – a little lane of firsts in Fremantle

  1. janinemarshall says:

    Oh how romantic…. thats such a lovely story, I can just imagine it now……………….
    Reminds me of Roger Hodgson – Lovers in the Wind song (for those so eager to hear it as I know you all are reading this, here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcfrAIVidao )
    Yes more Nyoongar names around Fremantle would be great! That represent meaning, not just a name 🙂

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