Burrendah has been providing quality public school education since 1976 and has a rich history which is celebrated and acknowledged by the wider community. This rich history and proud heritage has been acknowledged through the creation of a mosaic mural at the entrance to our school on the library wall. This mural reflects the meaning of the word Burrendah (Burrendah is an Aboriginal Dharawal word meaning ‘The Place of the Story of the Black Swan’).
A Brief History
The area that is now Willetton was peopled by the Beeliar tribe for many thousands of years. The British settlement of the Swan River Colony in 1829 changed Noongar culture and lifestyle. In 1832, one rural settler named Henry Willett settled near the Canning River, and more than a century later a new suburb ‘Willetton’ was named after him. The Willetton Primary School on Woodpecker Avenue was built in 1970, but the suburb grew so quickly that by 1975 plans were underway for a new school, with the aim to open by February 1976.
The mural on the outside wall of our hall depicts the Canning River and was created by students and staff making the connection between the Canning River, our school history and our school song.
Burrendah: Its Meaning and Origin
Burrendah refers to ‘The Place of the Story of the Black Swan.’ It is a word from the Dharawal people from eastern Australia.
The Dharawal name for the Black Swan is Mull’goh. There is a Dharawal story about the legend of the Mull’goh, the Black Swan clan, and how the Black Swan came to be. In the story, Burrendah is the area where the Black Swan Clan nested, and therefore the story can be told, sung and danced there.
Frances Bodkin, a Dharawal elder, has provided the Black Swan Story to Burrendah Primary School. It was handed down to her by her Great Grandmother. Our school has permission from the Dharawal people and the local Noongar elders to tell this story.