Yagan Memorial Park

Note: This entry contains images/names of deceased people that may cause distress to some readers.

A memorial to Aboriginal leader Yagan was officially opened on Saturday 10 July 2010 beside the Swan River at Upper Swan.

Yagan lived in the Swan Valley when Governor Stirling established the Swan River Colony in 1829. In the early days of the settlement Yagan was friendly with the settlers. Unfortunately misunderstandings arose between the settlers and Nyoongah people, leading to the eventual murder of Yagan on 11 July 1833.

The head of Yagan was removed and placed in the wedge of a smoking tree to preserve it. The head was later sent to England and eventually buried in a cemetery in Liverpool. The Nyoongah community successfully returned Yagan’s head, or kaat, to Western Australia in 1997 but the location of his body is unknown.

Following a private traditional Nyoongah burial ceremony, Premier Colin Barnett dedicated the park as a memorial to Yagan. The reburial date was chosen as it was the anniversary of Yagan’s death and coincided with the end of NAIDOC Week.

Further information about Yagan can be found in the State Library of Western Australia (visit the online catalogue) and Department of Aborignal Affairs website.

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