2010: Western Australia Opens a New Highway Honoring Its Indigenous Noongar Past

October 7, 2010

(Image courtesy of Eastern Reporter Community News.)

In Australia, Mandjoogoordap Drive (State Route 19) in the Peel region of the state of Western Australia was officially opened two months of schedule. (“Mandjoogoordap” is pronounced man-joo-goord-daap.) Western Australia’s Transport Minister Simon O’Brien officiated at the dedication ceremony for the dual carriageway (this class of highway is better known in the United States as a divided highway), which connects the coastal city of Madurah – second only to Perth as the largest city in Australia’s largest state – with the Kwinana Freeway.

The Kwinana Freeway, measuring 45 miles (72 kilometers) in length, serves as a major route between the Perth metropolitan area and Mandurah.  In his remarks at the opening of the four-mile (6.5-kilometer) Mandjoogoordap Drive, O’Brien emphasized the expected benefits of the new road as a direct link between Mandurah and the freeway.

“Mandjoogoordap Drive will provide a free-flowing route for Mandurah traffic, helping to relieve increasing traffic pressure and congestion on minor local roads,” asserted O’ Brien, who was also serving at the time as Western Australia’s minister for disability services. He further noted, “This project represents an important investment in Western Australia’s transport network. The Peel region is one of the nation’s fastest-growing centres and it is vital that we support its expansion through improved safety and connectivity.”

While Mandjooroordap Drive is comparatively short in length, it has one of the longest names for a road in all of Australia. During its construction, the road was commonly referred to as Mandurah Entrance Road. According to Madjurah Mayor Paddi Creevey, however, “Mandjooroordap Drive” was ultimately selected as the road’s formal name because it honors the longstanding legacy and language of the indigenous Noongar peoples in that part of Australia.

Creevey highlighted information on the Noongar community that had been gathered by Irish-born journalist Daisy Bates (1859-1951) during her many years of fieldwork in Australia. Creevey explained, “Following further research it was discovered that Daisy Bates wrote in her diary that Mandjoogoordap was the original Noongar name for Mandurah and means ‘meeting place of the heart’.”

For more information on Mandjoogoordap Drive and its opening, please check out https://www.projectlink.com.au/news/mandurah-entrance-road-opens-ahead-of-schedule.

Additional information on the Kwinana Freeway and its linkages with Mandjoogoordap Drive and other roads in Western Australia is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwinana_Freeway.

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