About Dumbartung

Dumbartung is a Nyoongah grass roots advocacy agency working to alleviate the suffering of trauma and pain associated with past Government policies of dispossession, displacement and  religious disinheritance.


Dumbartung's belief is that as Aboriginal people we need to rejuvenate our cultural belief system as a means of ensuring the strength of our future generations' identity and spiritual growth, that will help sustain our young people’s lives in a changing and challenging world.


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It is our vision that we will endeavour to develop a cultural bastion through the Kyana gallery and keeping rooms to sustain a spiritual citadel to maintain the archiving, interpreting and teaching of our own history this will allow our people to "Tell Our Story Our Way".


This information and awareness will be freely accessible to young Nyoongah people who seek knowledge that is not accessible in mainstream educational institutions such as universities and secondary higher levels of education.


This knowledge is shared in an environment that has a strong foundation of cultural integrity and dignity; a special place where our culture is not blemished by commercialism, anthropological critique, or New Age interests.


Our living cultures are the oldest ceremonies practiced on the most ancient land mass on the face of the earth.  We need to protect it against exploitation and misappropriation ensuring its ancient wisdoms remain in the custodial protection of our people. 


The Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation operates out of the old Catholic orphanage (Clontarf) in Waterford, Perth.


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The organisation also respects the tragic lives of many of the orphans (Lost Children of Europe) who were residing in the care of the Christian Brothers who suffered mass sexual and emotional abuse.


During the past twenty years Dumbartung has occupied a number of facilities within this complex.  We commenced our services from the old buildings which were the dormitories of the orphanage.

The buildings were decrepit and the verandahs of the dormitories were rickety and dilapidated  Dumbartung during the next twenty years gained support and financial assistance from LotteryWest and was able to renovate and maintain the facilities to be appropriate for public access and presentation.


The organisation literally built our facilities up from the dirt of Clontarf which was financially abandoned  by the Christian Brothers.  Our lease agreements initially were offered on what they called a Peppercorn agreement.


The twenty years experience of Dumbartung at Clontarf has been a massive challenge of financial burdens regarding the funding budgets to appropriately operate the services of the organisation to an ever increasing demand against more stringent funding agreements. Dumbartung survived many attempts by both state and federal Governments whose desired intentions were to cease the service on political grounds due specifically to the successful moral base initiatives of Dumbartung's Intellectual property rights campaigns that were instrumental in attracting both national and international support and recognition. We overcome their attempts.


Dumbartung has gained worldwide recognition and respect as an organisation that plays a vital role in advocating for the protection of Aboriginal intellectual property rights and cultural rights.


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For over 20 years the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation has developed a number of important cultural and artistic initiatives. Dumbartung has facilitated a number of cross-cultural exchanges including the Ainu people of Northern Japan, the Apache people of the USA, the Philippines indigenous tribal peoples, the Amazon peoples and many other global Indigenous groups.


The dynamically unique work of Dumbartung is a form of human rights advocacy. Over the course of its history, Dumbartung has held a number of social protest rallies and lectures addressing the human rights of indigenous people. The work of Dumbartung has had positive effects on many Noongar people’s lives.


"We need to protect our spirit against forced influences that will render it void of integrity and dignity.


"We need to protect the pride and visions of our aspirations and dreams; never allowing the forced occupation to victimise a sense of shackled enslavement greater than that of our human rights to freedom and salvation.


"As the mel (eye) of the yelga (eagle) casts an endless shadow over the sacred (boodja) the land void of any emotional reason, pierced by the blood loss of our great warriors, the wisdom of our elders and the strengths of our future generations.’’


Jangga Meenya Bomunngurr


"'The smell of the whiteman is killing us' is the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation’s statement against the ongoing oppression and spiritual colonisation of our people.’’

Robert Eggington - March 2009


Our community continues to suffer from the devastating and adverse effects of colonisation and various paternalistic government policies that have been forced upon our people.  Such practices have had negative effects and in turn created high levels of various adverse social phenomena such as: domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence and high suicide rates. In addition forced occupation of lands and past government acts such as the Stolen generation phenomenon have created not just social problems but physical health problems which have resulted in a multitude of physical sicknesses and ailments such as diabetes and renal problems that affect Indigenous people to a greater degree compared to non-Indigenous people.


The disabling effects of colonisation and paternalistic government practices are the basis upon which the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation has moulded its core objective. This is to develop and maintain our cultural spirituality for the empowerment and healing of the Noongar community.


From this core objective, a number of aims have emerged:

  • To educate the community about the respect of spiritual knowledge and its traditional use, discourage the misuse and exploitation of Aboriginal art and inform the public that cultural objects are an important part of cultural law practice and spiritual wellbeing.
  • To reinforce the importance of nurturing Aboriginal cultural arts and its importance in healing the individual and the community by re-affirming identity, pride, spirituality and unity amongst Noongar people.
  • To ascertain the religious significance of our culture and spirituality as a belief system of values and way’s of life.