About this place
Heathcote is home to an extensive seagrass habitat that provides protection and food resources for an array of species, including school prawns, blue-swimmer crabs, gobbleguts and seahorses. Heathcote provides an excellent vantage point to view bottlenose dolphins either chasing mullet as they move up the Swan and Canning rivers or taking advantage of the fish habitat created by the South of Perth Yacht Club.
Heathcote is an important place to Whadjuk Nyoongar people, and was once a Whadjuk men’s ceremonial site. The western side of Heathcote down to Waylen Bay is known as Kooyagardup, which means the place of the big nose frog in Nyoongar. Today this area is popular for family picnics and barbecues. There is also a café, museum and gallery located at Heathcote Reserve. Look out for information along the western cliff face footpath to learn more about the history of Heathcote.
Plan when to visit. Consider travelling with a personal location beacon (PLB). In the event you need to be rescued it could save your life!
Men's Ceremonial Site
You are at Heathcote and this was a Whadjuk men's ceremonial site, for men's lore and rituals, the place of the site. The Heathcote site was a mental institution where a lot of Aboriginal people went, a place of great sadness for non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal people. And today, of course, everyone shares this site, it's a place of celebration for weddings and parties. It's changed right around, it's gone full circle to what it used to be in past for Whadjuk people.
When we look at the Swan River on a whole could you imagine the rainbow serpent coming down the Swan River twisting and turning, and pushing the land aside for that water to come down? And then he brought his girlfriend down to the middle of the Swan River over here where Coolyagardup is at the Canning Bridge, and they swam around and played, and did what snakes do out there in the water till they had a fight, and then he went back up, sulking probably like all males do, and he went out to Lake Monger and he still sleeps in Lake Monger today, and the female she went down to Dyarlgarro, and she went right out and made that river. And when we come down here and you look out over the river, you could just imagine those beautiful rainbow serpents and the spirituality that arose from the stories that come from our Elders that have been handed down to those of us today.
When you come walking to these lands of the Beeliar people you are are walking on lands where Yagan was a young man, where he hunted and gathered, where he went through Noongar lore, and where he was taught by his Elders how to hunt and gather, how to make his camp and the one thing that Yagan stood up for my people was that he fought for justice. Yagan was a well respected Elder and leader for my people until he died. He stood up and he fought for our country, he could see that life was changing for the Noongar people and by doing what he did, by standing up, and unfortunately people died, he was also killed. And even though only a young man when he was killed his legacy still lives on today. To have his head brought back over here from England was a wonderful day for Noongar people and it's just a pity that we didn't get more of his stories written down when he was alive.
Plants, wildlife and fungi
Visit the Atlas of Living Australia for a list of species recorded within a 5km radius of Heathcote.
NGAALA KAADITJ WHADJUK MOORT KEYEN KAADAK NIDJA BOODJA.
We recognise and acknowledge Whadjuk people as the traditional owners of the land and waters.