Wp/nys/Fanny Balbuk

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Fanny Balbuk (1840-1907) birdiyah Noongar yorga yowl koorliny Matagarup Derbal Yaragan.

Group portrait of Noongar men, women, and children, Fanny Balbuk seated on the right in the white dress. State Library of WA 253420PD

Fanny waarnkiny gnullar noongar kadadjiny Daisy Bates kura kura.

Baal moot Coondebung (baal maam), Joojeebal/Doodyeep (baal ngarnk).

Baal waarnk wadjella baal ngoornditj baal mia mia yirra Fannys notij dembart.[1]

It was said by Daisy Bates that Yalgonga (Yellowgonga or Yellagonga) was her grandfather.[2]

Fanny Balbuk (1840-1907) was a prominent Noongar Whadjuk woman who lived in Perth during the early years of the Swan River Colony. Fanny Balbuk (sometimes recorded as 'Yooreel') was born il Matagarup in the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River)[1] wer her boodja (country) included the swamps wer wetland in the area currently occupied by the Perth Railway Station wer Perth Cultural Centre. Gooloogoolup, named Lake Kingsford by the wetjella newcomers, now lies buried beneath Perth railway station.[3]

There was a red wilgi (ochre) pit (wilgigarup) in the Perth suburb of Glendalough. The area had the Bibbulmun name Goobabbilup. Her father had given the wilgigarup to Fanny and she claimed payment for any wilgi taken from it.[4]

She is remembered for her fierce commitment to boodjar rights, wer her reactions to the buildings, fences wer homes which quickly replaced her boodja (land) as the Swan River Colony expanded at the cost of Noongar peoples' land, language wer lives.[5]

A book called "Fanny Balbuk Yooreel - Realising a Perth Resistance Fighter" was published in 2017 by the National Trust of Western Australia.[6]

Early life


Fanny Balbuk was born to Joojeebal (Doodyep) wer Coondenung il Matagarup in 1840. Her father Coondenung was an accomplished hunter wer her ngarngk Joojeebal was known for her 'cheeky' sense of humour.[1]

Her uncle was Joobaitch and her grandfather was Yellagonga.



Fanny Balbuk was born near the causeway il Noongar Whadjuk boodjar wer would collect Gilgies wer vegetables from the swampy areas around Perth. She was a descendant of Yellagonga wer her traditional boodjar covers the Perth CBD area.

Map showing Noongar language areas

Balbuk was well known among the colonists who had grown yira around her. Balbuk at a young age had travelled around to places like Northam, Moore River wer Dandaragan wer attended a friendship ceremony where she was given the name Yooreel at Moore river, she was remembered for her unwavering commitment to maintaining her boodjar rights in the earliest days of the Frontier Wars in Western Australia. Balbuk would walk the track between her birth site wer the Railway Station, regardless of any new obstacles, buildings or fences which would spring yira in her path as the colony grew. Daisy Bates herself wrote

Noongar Elder Noel Nannup tells a similar story:

Daisy Bates is quoted as saying



Fanny Balbuk died in 1907[10] leaving no descendants.

Her name is commemorated in Perth's streets in Balbuk Reserve and Balbuk Way in Burswood.[11]

Ngiyan waarnk - References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 First Australians: Fanny Balbuk. National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 24 February 2017
  2. Hallam, S.J.[1] Aboriginal women as providers, the 1830s on the Swan. Aboriginal History p. 41
  3. Chinna, N. Swamp. Griffith Review Vol. 47 (2015). Retrieved 20 March 2017
  4. "REIMAGINING PERTH'S LOST WETLANDS". Western Australian Museum. Govt. of WA. Retrieved 18 November 2019
  5. Fanny Balbuk Yooreel. Nyoongar Tent Embassy. Retrieved 24 February 2017
  6. [2] Fanny Balbuk Yooreel - Realising a Perth Resistance Fighter, National Trust 2017. Accessed 22 January 2017
  7. Daisy Bates. My natives and I. Publisher Hesperian Press (2004), bibol 65
  8. Fighting for Families, Country, Rights and Recognition. City of Perth. Retrieved 24 February 2017
  9. Hallam, S.J. Aboriginal women as providers, the 1830s on the Swan. Aboriginal History p. 1
  10. Daisy Bates. Fanny Balbuk-Yooreel. The Western Mail. 1 June 1907, bibol 44. Retrieved 24 February 2017
  11. [3]https://web.archive.org/web/20180319200107/https://www.victoriapark.wa.gov.au/Parks-Reserves/Balbuk-Reserve retreived 19 Jan 2018