Rio Tinto rail flyover bridge named Warrndamayaga after local lore man

16 April 2018

Rio Tinto and Main Roads Western Australia today announced the naming of Warrndamayaga Bridge on Ngarluma Country in honour of a deceased senior Ngarluma man in an official naming ceremony on the North West Coastal Highway near Karratha. 

For Aboriginal cultural reasons, first names aren’t normally used to refer to deceased people. Rio Tinto and Main Roads respect Aboriginal Traditional lore and culture so the man, Mr Daniel, is referred to as D.D.

The Warrndamayaga Bridge naming ceremony was attended by local Traditional Owners and representatives from a range of industry, government and non-government groups. Warrndamayaga means "wood-man" and is the traditional name for D.D. A large stone monument was also unveiled at the site of the bridge in his honour.

D.D was a senior lore and culture man and played an important role as a cultural teacher, passing on the intricate skills of artefact making to young boys and men. He was also instrumental in the determination of native title rights of the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi People and in 1994 applied for Native Title on behalf of his people.

In 2005, the Ngarluma land rights determination was successfully granted by the Federal Court of Australia.

Safety is our top priority and construction of Warrndamayaga Bridge delivers significant safety benefits for our Pilbara iron ore business with about 50 trains passing under the bridge each day.

Construction of the bridge, including earthworks, involved extensive consultation with government and community stakeholders and was completed in 2014.

Rio Tinto general manager communities and communications Linda Dawson said "The naming of the bridge after Warrndamayaga symbolises how cultures can intersect, interact and prosper together. Rio Tinto is proud to play a role in the naming of the bridge and the dedication monument which will serve as a permanent reminder of the major contribution D.D. made to both the Ngarluma people and Yindjibarndi people."

Notes to editors

D.D. incorporated cultural lore into artefact making and would teach about the location the wood was taken from and the cultural responsibilities of caring for Country. He would tell stories about Country in the grains of the wood and the way it was cut or shaped. 

When artefacts were decorated with ochre or carvings it would accompany a story about culture and kinship. 

He also taught how to cut the wood from trees in order for the scar on the trees to be sustainable and enable it to rejuvenate.