The Shire of Northam is part of the Noongar Nation. The Avon River holds great cultural significance to the Ballardong People, traditional owners of the area around the Northam townsite.
The Shire of Northam Council is currently developing an Aboriginal and Environmental Interpretive Centre on the bank of the Avon river to celebrate the region’s rich Aboriginal cultural heritage.
The Shire of Northam has a population of 5.6% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (ABS 2011) compared to the State average of 3.1% and National, 2.5%.
The Aboriginal population of the Wheatbelt has a much younger age structure than the non- Aboriginal population, with over half the population aged under 20 (50% compared with 24% for non-Aboriginal). The population of Aboriginal people under 20 is significantly higher than the non-Aboriginal population of the same age cohort. The birth rate of Aboriginal women is 1.2 times higher than the non-Aboriginal birth rate (Wheatbelt Health Profile 2015).
Also detailed in the Wheatbelt Health Profile 2015 is that the ageing population trend apparent in the general community is not occurring in the Aboriginal sub-population. Percentages of the regional population in the 0-9 year old cohort show the Indigenous population to be close to double the non-indigenous population. In the 10-19 year old cohort the percentage of Indigenous residents is more than double the non-Indigenous population.