Mandurah honours city’s iconic Aboriginal elder Harry Nannup | Photos

Mandurah honoured iconic local Aboriginal elder Harry Nannup at a ceremony on Friday afternoon. 

Born in a bush camp near Pinjarra on November 24, 1946 – Harry Nannup holds many memories in the region. 

Uncle Harry, as he is known by the community, has been sharing tales from his youth and passing on cultural knowledge to the next generation for years. 

Harry said he wasn’t told the celebration was for him until he actually arrived in the Tuckey Room at the City of Mandurah. 

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Modestly, the respected elder said he didn’t think he had done enough to deserve the occasion but thanked those who turned out to join him. 

In a speech at the event, he told of his tough upbringing in the region and the hardship he and his family faced. 

In his youth, Harry and his family were made to live on a reserve near Pinjarra, where they were often counted to ensure no one had left. 

Harry was the second youngest of 12 children. 

Twice during his childhood, Harry was taken from his parents and placed in a mission. Both times his father had to bring him back. 

Eventually, Harry’s parents, Joseph and Dulcie Nannup, managed to leave the reserve and build a life in the Mandjoogoordap area.

Harry’s father ended up working for the City of Mandurah for a time. 

Harry said that connection always stayed with his family. 

Mayor Rhys Williams, Mandurah MP David Templeman and former mayor Paddi Creevey spoke at the event. 

Mr Williams thanked Harry for helping the City of Mandurah over the years to ensure core cultural commitments were established. 

“It’s important that we take the opportunity to thank the key people in our community. Harry is one of those,” Mr Williams said. 

He also presented Harry with a framed photo of his family from the official opening of the Serpentine River walking trail that was renamed to honour his family.

Mr Templeman and Ms Creevey both reflected back to their time in local government and thanked Harry for the strong relationship he had built with the City of Mandurah over the years. 

“Harry has just built on the amazing work by former elders,” Ms Creevey said. 

Mr Templeman spoke of the first time the decision was made to fly the indigenous flag outside the City of Mandurah and Ms Creevey reflected on the creation of the local government’s reconciliation plan. 

Mr Williams also thanked councils Tahlia Jones, Merv Darcy, Lynn Rodgers, Ron Wortley and Caroline Knight for attending the event.