When Ian Wilkes was a child, his father would point out the window at Lake Monger whenever they drove past and say “something bad happened there”.
The popular lake in Perth’s western suburbs, which is flanked by the Mitchell Freeway, attracts thousands of visitors every week to use the walking track and see the bevy of black swans on the shore.
But few people know the full history of the place the Whadjuk Noongar people call Galup – place of fire.
Now, an interactive walking tour created for the Perth Festival will offer a window into Galup’s past, including the little-known massacre that took place in the early months of the Swan River Colony.
In creating the performance, lead artists Ian Wilkes and Poppy van Oorde-Grainger first had to uncover the history themselves.
“Dad knew that something bad happened there. He didn’t know much, but he always drilled it into us whenever we were around that area,” Mr Wilkes recalled.
“He would say, ‘A lot of Noongars were killed when the wadjelas [white people] first came’.”