The Balingup Battle

It has been said that in the late 1890s a war was waged between two local indigenous groups over a claim to a significant site in the Mullalyup hills used to initiate young men (ceremony was to pierce the nose, hence the name: Mullalyup; bone-through-the-nose).

The battle was pitched in Balingup near the old railway station and bridge. They fought it out using spears and sticks and many were killed. The father of well known Aborighinal figure 'Bayla" (Balingup was named after) was the elder of the group that escaped the battle by swimming upstream (Balingup Brook) to Mullalyup.

This man (Bayla's father) had been a good friend of the Bovell family who had settled Mullalyup, establishing Bovell House and the Blackwood Inn. There had been a significant cultural exchange between Bayla's family and the Bovells during that time. It is disputed as to whether the local group drifted off or whether they fled the valley as a result of this battle. One local indigenous man has indicated they fled, leaving an infant Bayla behind with the Bovell family to be raised. Other reports indicate that Bayla himself actually fought in this war.

A local indigenous man with heritage linking him to Bayla's family claims that many important indigenous cultural artifacts from this time are still in the possession of some local folk in the Blackwood Valley region.

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