The Traditional Owners of Dambimangari Country on the Kimberley Coast in Western Australia are custodians of a unique heritage of land and sea, treasured by our people for more than fifty thousand years.
As Saltwater People, we developed skills and seafaring capabilities which gave our people access to our sea country.
The 1,500 kilometre coastline dotted with more than 1,800 islands, is accessible only from the ocean. It has ancient rock art from the oldest culture in the world, breath taking coastal scenery, bountiful wildlife, and breeding grounds for humpback whales.
The Dambimangari Traditional Owners welcome visitors who want to know more about our country and our traditions.
Visitors greeted in Dambimangari Country
For the Traditional Owners their country, dambeema, is more than a simple geographic location with particular topography, flora and fauna, and aesthetic qualities. Country as land, sky, foods, natural formations, fresh and salt water and all that is within it, tangible and intangible, is a life-affirming entity. Country is alive, it can be generous and dangerous. Country is home.
Lalai is from before the beginning of time.
Country contains different reminders and records of the long and deep history of creation by Lalai Beings and the actions of Traditional Owners and their ancestors caring for and using their country over many generations to today.
Lalai is creation of the world and its resources as well as providing the Laws, customs and rules of social and ritual behaviour.
The proof of Lalai is found in the images and narratives of Wandjina, Woongudd, Geeyorn and all the other Beings located within the many caves and stone arrangements in Dambeemangaddee Country. All life comes from Lalai.
The Wanjina are the spirit ancestors.
Together with Woongudd they created the world, the weather, the foods and the rules for living.
Wanjina left their images in caves as did Woongudd, Geeyorn and other Beings. They belong to that particular place or were resting as they travelled to their final home.
Woongudd, the Snake
Is a powerful, sacred life force. Woongudd can be seen in the waves, the tides and the currents of the ocean, islands and island reefs.
Traditional Owners know their country and have a relationship with Lalai Beings. The spirits of the Country know the Traditional Owners and respond to them in good and bad ways depending on how the they have acted. Traditional Owners are responsible for caring for the country, by conserving its resources, maintaining images at rock art sites, burning the country and following the rules of social behaviour.
Namaralay is the main Wandjina for Dambeemangaddee people and moved the islands into the sea when the big flood happened in Lalai.
Yornadaiyn Woolagoodja paints an image of Namaralay
Protecting our heritage
Today Dambimangari Rangers are playing a key role in the management of our land and sea country.
The group’s ranger team is working with State and Federal Government authorities and western scientists to protect the region’s wildlife and an unspoiled environment – home to their ancestors.
Planning your visit to Dambimangari country
Please click HERE for information on the correct way to visit Dambimangari Country.