Ellensbrook sits on Wadandi Country at a place called Mokidup. The Wadandi have maintained an unbroken connection to Mokidup for thousands of years. Mokidup is recognised on both the WA Aboriginal Sites Register and the State Register of Heritage Places for its unique cultural heritage values. This landscape includes Meekadariby, known to the Wadandi as the ‘place where the moon bathes.’
When on Wadandi Country we ask that you respect the area and walk softly and take time to listen to the Country as she talks of the seasons. We respect the presence of the ancestors whose spirits reside on Country and walk their feet on the land, their heart spirit flows through all creation. We all come together for Country.
Wadandi life is guided by the six seasons, each of which signals a change in the environment, bringing different plant and animal life to Mokidup.
- Makuru (June-August)
- Djilba (September-October)
- Kambarang (October-November)
- Birak (December-January)
- Bunuru (February-March)
- Djeran (April-May)
Ellensbrook at Mokidup is a place of interwoven histories. When Alfred and Ellen Bussell arrived in 1857 it had long been a summer camping ground for the Wadandi. A Wadandi guide had shown the Bussells and their three small daughters (Fanny, Bessie and Edith) to this sheltered location and ready supply of fresh water. The Wadandi knowledge of local resources and offers of fresh supplies of fish were welcomed by the new settlers. The Wadandi provided seaweed to fertilise the newly planted grape vines and helped to build the house. They also provided paperbark for the roof, a material that Ellen also found useful for making quilts for her family.
Over the years the Bussell family lived at Ellensbrook they depended on and provided for a small community of servants and labourers. The success of the farm and dairy owed much to the efforts of Ellen, Fanny and Edith, and others including Wadandi workers Samuel Isaacs, Ngilgi, Nannup, Janie Lowe, David Nannup, Edican, Lizzie Fisher, Jimmie (Jemmy), Ralph and George Long.
In 2018 the National Trust commissioned Wandandi artist Sandra Hill to produce a series of artworks as part of new onsite interpretation. Sandra worked closely with other Traditional Owners to decide on the content for this art. At Ellensbrook today Sandra’s art, together with a Traditional Owner welcome, greets visitors to the place.