Parkerville’s ‘Eagle Man’ builds bridges with Martu Elders

Dr. Noel Nannup with Rita Cutter, Leena Long and Alison Murphy (nee Nannup) with Simon Cherriman, who the Martu people call ‘Eagle Man’ . Picture: Stella Gray-Broun.
Dr. Noel Nannup with Rita Cutter, Leena Long and Alison Murphy (nee Nannup) with Simon Cherriman, who the Martu people call ‘Eagle Man’ . Picture: Stella Gray-Broun.

CONNECTION to country is close to the heart of Parkerville’s Simon Cherriman after six months of climbing trees to satellite tag Australia’s largest birds of prey, the Wedge-tailed Eagle.

The Murdoch PhD candidate recently tracked some of the birds to Martu country where the local indigenous people asked the intrepid researcher they call ‘eagle man’ if they could visit his homeland.

He responded by extending an invitation to Martu Elders from Wiluna to meet Noongar people where he grew up.

The Martu Elders are members of the Matuwa Indigenous Protected Area committee, which meets in Perth three times a year.

“I decided this was a good opportunity to organise a cross-cultural meeting,” he said.

“For thousands of years, Aboriginal people have acknowledged the visitations of different language groups and cultures to their traditional lands with a Welcome to Country ceremony,” he said.

He gained support from the Shire of Mundaring to hold the event on Monday March 19 at Boya Community Centre, where Noongar Elder Noel Nannup carried out the Welcome.

Mr Cherriman then illustrated ways in which birds connect people to country with a presentation on wedge-tailed Eagles.

At more than 2m-tall, the charismatic ornithologist soared above his guests as he posed for photographs after the presentation.

The visitors then drove to John Forrest National Park to observe bushland from lookout points on Eagle View trail.

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