Indigenous custodians (Traditional Owners)


Indigenous Cultural Heritage of Helena and Aurora Range (Bungalbin)

The Indigenous custodians (Traditional Owners, TOs) of Helena and Aurora Range are of the Kaprun Nation.  The language spoken is Kaalamaya or Kalamaia (sometimes spelt Kalamai). The Traditional Owners refer to their language group as Kaalamaya Kaprun or sometimes Kalamaia Gubrun (Elder Brian Champion Senior, pers. comm.). The people of the Kaprun Nation call the Helena and Aurora Range, Bungalbin (a Kalamai name).  

The Kaprun Nation extends from just south of Paynes Find down to where the Holland Track begins (south of Hyden), east to Riverena and Goongarrie and west to Burracoppin and Mukinbudin. A map showing these landmarks (places) is presented below.

A Native Title claim for part of their country is in progress with the ‘Notification Complete’, although still to be registered (does not include Helena and Aurora Range).

A publication that looks at some of the history of the people of the Kaprun Nation is The Wheels of Change, A History of the District by Jocelyn Maddock (Published by Shire of Westonia in 1998).



Views and beliefs held by elders and spokespersons of the Kaprun Nation


The people of the Kaprun Nation believe that the Helena and Aurora Ranges (Bungalbin) needs to be given back to them.  That their ‘ownership’ or custodianship of this land be recognised by both Federal Government and State Government as well as government departments (eg. Department of Environment and Conservation, Forest Products Commission, Agriculture Western Australia).

The people of the Kaprun Nation want to be given their rights as Wardens, Custodians, Traditional Owners of the ranges (Bungalbin).  They want to be given “first say in management” so that “we can keep our culture in our sights, looked after and intact.”


The people of the Kaprun Nation do not want mining on Bungalbin (Helena and Aurora Range).

The whole of Helena and Aurora Range (Bungalbin) is considered to be sacred and in need of protection as compared to protection being limited to the smaller areas of recognised or registered Aboriginal sites within Bungalbin.


Aboriginal Sites on Helena and Aurora Range (Bungalbin)


On Helena and Aurora Range (Bungalbin), a total of 13 Aboriginal sites have been lodged on the Register (source: Department of Iindigenous Affairs (DIA) website, December 2011; viewed 15 January 2012).  These are referred to as Other Heritage Places as they have yet to be fully assessed by the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee (ACMC). Five of the 13 sites have been given the status of ‘insufficient information’.  The 13 sites are listed below.  The information of sacred sites is continually being updated.  For an update on the sacred sites on Helena and Aurora Range go to the Aboriginal Heritage Enquiry System (AHIS) on the DAA (Department of Aboriginal Affairs) website.


Aboriginal Sites on Bungalbin


Site Id. No., Purpose and Name of place (Access status not given here);

  5600          Bungalbin, Artefacts / Scatter; Camp, water source;

18726         Aurora Ranges Womens Place, Ceremonial, Historical, Grinding patches / grooves

18728         Ochre Quarry

18729         Rockholes

18730         Helena/aurora Ranges Gully, Mythological, Historical; Camp, Hunting Place, Water source

18731         Helena/aurora Ranges Engraving

18732         Helena Cave, Ceremonial, Engraving, Artefacts / Scatter, Historical

20336         Ky19, Mythological, Artefacts / Scatter; Camp, Water source

20342         Ky28, Mythological, south side access to top of range (eastern ore deposit)

29178         J5 Rockhole 1

29179         J5 Rockhole 2

18278         Hangover Bore 14

18279        Hangover Bore 03


Not all Aboriginal sites are recorded on the Register and some sites may no longer exist.  However, “the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 protects all Aboriginal sites in Western Australia whether or not they are registered.”(DIA website, 15 January 2012).



Native Title


Aboriginal people ‘come from country’ where it is the country of their ancestors (where their ancestors were born to).


Within the country of the Kapurn Naton there are two native title representative bodies.  The Goldfields Land and Sea Council and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.  Helena and Aurora Range falls just within the boundary of the South West Aboriginal Land and Seas Council (in the north-east corner).


There is currently a claimant application for Native Title listed as within the Goldfields region and titled “Kalamaia Kabu(d)n People” (does not include Helena and Aurora Range).  The application has yet to be registered, however, has ‘Notification Complete’ (National Native Title Tribunal website, 21st April 2012).



Map showing approximate boundary of the Kapurn Nation

(nearest towns to boundary highlighted in deep purple)






Maddock J (1998) The Wheels of Change, A History of the District. Shire of Westonia.