Traditional Owners

The Ningaloo’s Traditional owners

The local Aboriginal tribe, the Jinigudera, a part of the West Thalanyji people, and their predecessors, have lived in this region for at least the last thirty thousand years, and likely much longer.

The Jinigudera people are coastal dwellers, ranging from Tent Island through to Bulbali Point on the west coast of the Ningaloo. The Jinigudera people call themselves salt water people as they have always lived by the waters – these sites provide the oldest dated evidence for development of marine resources in Australia.

A range of archeologically significant sites, from burial grounds, caves and campsites, to middens and fish traps, are known throughout the area, and have enabled researchers to better understand the pre-history of the tribe and their predecessors. One of the oldest known pieces of jewellery in Australia – an ornamental string of beads made of cone shell was found near Mandu Mandu, in North West Cape, and has been carbon dated at an incredible around 32,000 years old.

One of the most fascinating stories from the area is the Barque Stefano shipwreck from 1875. Of the 17 crew who abandoned ship, only 10 reached the shore. The survivors, who were weak from the heat and lack of water and shelter, were hit by a cyclone which weakened them further. Many died of thirst and hunger, leaving only two survivors. They were rescued by the local tribe, the Jinigudera, who nursed them back to health over a number of months before they were rescued off Bundegi Beach. After being taken to Fremantle the two raised funds to take gifts back to their rescuers. You can read about this incredible rescue story in many published books and articles. As well as accounts from the survivors about what the learned from their rescuers, language, tools, and structure of the tribe.

The aboriginal name for the North West Cape is Palyadi Manu.

Respecting the natural environment, history and culture of this very special area is incredibly important to the local Aboriginal people and their ancestors – and as the Traditional Owners of this area they have a right to ask this respect of you.. The ocean, coastline, ranges, springs, creeks, beaches and gorges form a major part of their ongoing spiritual life and well being, so please remember this during your time in Palyadi Manu.

Dive Ningaloo Artwork

Dive Ningaloo’s buses and boat are covered in aboriginal artwork in two designs.

These beautifully designed and painted pieces are the handiwork of local Exmouth Aboriginal, Karen Shiosake. Whom only started painted a couple of year previously, and discovered she had real talent. Since then she has won a NAIDOC art award for her design.

Dive Ningaloo received permission to have the artwork commissioned and displayed on our vehicles by John Dale, Aboriginal custodian of the area.
The two pieces designed represent the ‘range meets the reef’. The Cape Range piece showcasing the native flora and fauna of the national park, in ochre and red tones it has Kangaroos, Emus, Echidna, Bungarra, Sea Eagle and Thorny Devil are all depicted on this piece. The Ningaloo Reef piece in blues and greens shows off the amazing marine life of the area, Turtles, Manta Rays, Whale Shark, Humpback Whales, Jellyfish, Starfish, Octopus, Dugongs etc!

The artwork is not only beautiful and perfectly portrays the spectacular Ningaloo, but is also important to show respect to the culture, uniqueness and history of the Traditional owners of this land.

You can check out the pieces when we come to pick you up for your tour with us!