Introducing Mia Yellagonga

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Recognising the significance to Aboriginal people of the land on which Woodside’s new headquarters is situated, Noongar names have been chosen for buildings and key areas.

The names were revealed to staff through short videos made by members of Woodside's Indigenous collegiate, and posted on the company's intranet. The names were chosen in consultation with the local community and elders.

One collegiate member was front of house member Dwayn Bolton. “I’m a proud Noongar man with connections to Whadjuk and Barlardong countries,” says Dwayn. He announced that the entire campus would be called Mia Yellagonga, meaning “place of Yellagonga”, after the Whadjuk elder who invited Captain James Stirling on to Whadjuk country.

“I feel a deep connection to my ancestors and country through my language,” explains Dwayn. “Using traditional names for places continues to preserve Indigenous language, and also supports its revitalisation.”

Nicole Crnko became engaged in the naming process through the Indigenous collegiate, which contributed ideas of how cultural recognition could be incorporated into the site. “Having Noongar names for our new headquarters is heart-warming as it shows that Woodside is taking cultural recognition seriously and wants to bring culture through language into the work day of Woodsiders,” says Nicole, a plans and compliance coordinator.

She explains that the campus’ main tower is named Karlak, or “camp fire”, where traditionally business is conducted, decisions are made and ideas turned into actions.

Kieron Pearce, administration assistant and Noongar marmum (man) from the Goreng people of the Great Southern, also remarked on the importance of language. “The naming of our campus using Noongar words means a lot, not only for myself and my people but also for Woodside employees,” says Kieron, who joined Woodside on an Indigenous Business Traineeship.

Kieron announced that the auditorium would be called Cara. “This is Noongar meaning the sacred spider and its web, and represents capturing thoughts and connecting people,” he says.

“Woodside pays respect to cultures and communities in which we operate globally, and I think it is a truly beautiful thing that we are embracing Australia’s Indigenous culture.”

Environment adviser Jarrad Taylor agrees with this sentiment. A Wardandi Noongar man who has been at Woodside since 2006, Jarrad says: “This language embodies Woodside’s intentions for this to be a welcoming and active place to gather and share knowledge and it gives me a great sense of pride that Woodside and our leaders value our language and culture, and that we are leading the way in the private sector in Perth with cultural recognition.”

He revealed that the roof top terrace will be called Boolah daa moort, which means “many tongues speaking and family”.

Administration assistant Oshayla Yarran, a Noongar woman from WA’s South-West, says she is thankful for the opportunity to be part of the naming project. “The office building closest to the river on Mia Yellagonga is named Kooya, meaning frog, because this is where we can hear him and look towards his place on the landscape at Kings Park,” says Oshayla. “I’m proud that Woodside is acknowledging the significance of the land the building stands on and that we’re incorporating Noongar language throughout the building.”

These members of the Indigenous collegiate agree that the naming of the campus has been a meaningful and sometimes emotional journey, but one they are grateful to have been a part of.

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Trunkline Q3 2017​​