The Spirit of Yagan is a powerful audio-documentary that tells the evocative true story of Noongar resistance warrior Yagan and his fight for Aboriginal people following British settlement in Western Australia.
Yagan was a Swan River Noongar who in 1833 was betrayed, murdered and beheaded for resisting British settlement. His severed head was exchanged for a bounty and it was sent to England where it was placed on display in a museum for many years. After a long fight with British authorities and 180 years after Yagan’s head was taken to Britain, descendants of Yagan repatriated his remains and lay them to rest on the banks of the upper reaches of the Swan River.
The Spirit of Yagan follows this compelling story and is told by Yagan’s direct descendants, Swan River traditional owners who were interviewed for the documentary by respected oral historian and radio producer Bill Bunbury.
“The oral histories about Yagan empower our people, and help to build respect. We are hoping the stories, as handed on through the generations, will get out into the world and then help preserve and promote our rich cultural heritage,” Vanessa Corunna, one of Yagan’s descendents, said.
The documentary was produced by CAN in partnership with the Wadjuk Boodja Gateway Aboriginal Corporation and the City of Swan and was launched in 2014 at Stirling Square in Guildford.
The Spirit of Yagan is Alive and Well CD, commemorative poster and postcards featuring original artworks by Vanessa Corunna inspired by the oral history project are available for purchase here.